Peri-lead edema after deep brain stimulation surgery for Parkinson's disease: a prospective magnetic resonance imaging study

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Background and purpose: The aim of this study was to define the prevalence and characteristics of peri-electrode edema in a prospective cohort of patients undergoing deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery and to correlate it with clinical findings. Methods: We performed brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) between 7 and 20 days after surgery in 19 consecutive patients undergoing DBS surgery for Parkinson's disease. The T2-weighted hyperintensity surrounding DBS leads was characterized and quantified. Any evidence of bleeding around the leads was also evaluated. Clinical and follow-up data were recorded. In a subgroup of patients, a follow-up MRI was performed 3–6 weeks after surgery. We also retrospectively reviewed the post-operative computed tomography scans of patients who underwent DBS at our center since 2013. Results: Magnetic resonance imaging showed a peri-lead edematous reaction in all (100%) patients, which was unilateral in three patients (15.8%). In six patients (31.6%), we detected minor peri-lead hemorrhage. Edema completely resolved in eight out of 11 patients with a follow-up MRI and was markedly reduced in the others. Most patients were asymptomatic but six (31.6%) manifested various degrees of confusional state without motor symptoms. We found no significant correlation between edema volume, distribution and any clinical feature, including new post-operative neurological symptoms. The retrospective computed tomography analysis showed that peri-electrode hypodensity consistent with edema is absent at early post-operative imaging but is common at scans performed >3 days after surgery. Conclusions: Peri-electrode edema is a common, transient reaction to DBS lead placement and a convincing relation between edema and post-operative clinical status is lacking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)533-539
JournalEuropean Journal of Neurology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • complications
  • deep brain stimulation
  • edema

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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