Multicontrast multiecho FLASH MRI for targeting the subthalamic nucleus.
The subthalamic nucleus (STN) is one of the most common stimulation targets for treating Parkinson's disease using deep brain stimulation (DBS). This procedure requires precise placement of the stimulating electrode. Common practice of DBS implantation utilizes microelectrode recording to locate the sites with the correct electrical response after an initial location estimate based on a universal human brain atlas that is linearly scaled to the patient's anatomy as seen on the preoperative images. However, this often results in prolonged surgical time and possible surgical complications since the small-sized STN is difficult to visualize on conventional magnetic resonance (MR) images and its intersubject variability is not sufficiently considered in the atlas customization. This paper proposes a multicontrast, multiecho MR imaging (MRI) method that directly delineates the STN and other basal ganglia structures through five co-registered image contrasts (T1-weighted navigation image, R2 map, susceptibility-weighted imaging (phase, magnitude and fusion image)) obtained within a clinically acceptable time. The image protocol was optimized through both simulation and in vivo experiments to obtain the best image quality. Taking advantage of the multiple echoes and high readout bandwidths, no interimage registration is required since all images are produced in one acquisition, and image distortion and chemical shift are reduced. This MRI protocol is expected to mitigate some of the shortcomings of the state-of-the-art DBS implantation methods. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.