Variability Between Direct and Indirect Targeting of the Anterior Nucleus of the Thalamus

Sanjeet S. Grewal, Erik H. Middlebrooks, Lela Okromelidze, Grant P. Gosden, William O. Tatum, Brian N. Lundstrom, Gregory A. Worrell, Robert E. Wharen, Jamie J. Van Gompel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Preoperative thalamic targeting methods have historically relied on indirect targeting techniques that do not fully account for variances in anatomy or for thalamic atrophy in epilepsy. We aimed to address variability noted between traditional indirect targeting and direct targeting methods for the anterior nucleus of the thalamus (ANT). Methods: Fifteen consecutive patients undergoing ANT deep brain stimulator placement were evaluated (30 thalamic nuclei). Direct ANT targeting was performed using a fast gray matter acquisition T1 inversion recovery sequence and compared with standard stereotactic coordinates. Thalamic volumes were calculated for each patient, and degree of thalamic volume loss was assessed compared with matched control subjects. Vertex analysis was performed to assess shape changes in the thalamus compared with age- and sex-matched subjects. Results: There was significant variation between direct and indirect targets in the y-axis and z-axis on both sides. On the left, the direct target was located at y = 2 ± 1.3 mm and z = 9.3 ± 1.8 mm (both P = 0.02). On the right, the direct target was located at y = 2.9 ± 1.8 mm and z = 9.2 ± 2 mm (both P ≤ 0.0003). There was no significant difference in the x-coordinate on either side (P > 0.5). Additionally, there was a correlation between thalamic volume and difference between direct and indirect targets in the y-axis and the z-axis. Conclusions: We showed a significant difference in direct and indirect targeting in the y-axis and z-axis when targeting the ANT for deep brain stimulation for epilepsy. This difference is correlated to thalamic volume, with a larger difference noted in patients with thalamic atrophy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e70-e77
JournalWorld neurosurgery
StatePublished - Jul 2020


  • ANT
  • Anterior nucleus thalamus
  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Direct targeting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Variability Between Direct and Indirect Targeting of the Anterior Nucleus of the Thalamus'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this