Globus Pallidus Interna or Subthalamic Nucleus Deep Brain Stimulation for Parkinson Disease: A Review

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Selection of the best deep brain stimulation (DBS) target—subthalamic nucleus (STN) or globus pallidus interna (GPi)—for treatment of motor complications in Parkinson disease remains a matter of debate.


Increasing evidence from randomized clinical trials indicates that motor benefit is similar between both targets, including an effect on dyskinesia and improvement in quality of life. Deep brain stimulation of the STN offers consistently greater dopaminergic medication reduction, possible mild benefit in nonmotor domains, and potential economic advantage. Deep brain stimulation of the GPi provides a probable advantage in dyskinesia suppression, management of symptoms with unilateral leads, and flexibility in medications and programming adjustments. Overall, STN DBS is at potentially higher or equal risk for neuropsychiatric changes compared with GPi DBS.

Conclusions and Relevance

Both GPi and STN DBS provide similar, consistent, marked motor benefits, but subtle target differences exist. Target selection should be tailored to each patient’s clinical presentation, neuropsychiatric profile, and goals of surgery, allowing customization of this therapy and improved individual outcomes.

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