Use of sagittal images for localization of the subthalamic nucleus

Cole A. Giller, Evelyn E. Babcock, Dianne B. Mendelsohn

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Direct observation of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) is not always possible, and physicians at many centers rely on indirect methods that relate the position of the STN to more easily recognized structures such as the red nucleus (RN). In this paper the authors describe an indirect method of viewing the STN based on the anatomy depicted on sagittal magnetic resonance (MR) images. A review of sagittal slices appearing in standard stereotactic atlases showed that the STN lies within the angle formed by the descending internal capsule (IC) and the substantia nigra (SN). The authors' technique consists of marking the location of the STN in this nigrocapsular angle on each sagittal MR image between the RN and the lateral border of the brainstem, and transferring these points to axial MR images to build a locus of points used to describe the STN. A point is chosen in the center of this locus as the stereotactic target. Two hundred eighty-two sagittal images obtained from 71 MR imaging studies performed in 29 patients by using a fast-spin echo inversion-recovery technique were examined for the presence of the STN, the SN, and the IC. The descending IC could be detected in 97% of the slices, the SN in 95% of the slices, and the STN in 73% of the slices. This indirect method involving sagittal anatomy can be used to refine localization of the STN.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)571-575
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2005


  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Parkinson disease
  • Subthalamic nucleus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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