Deep brain stimulation therapy for Parkinson’s disease using frameless stereotaxy: comparison with frame-based surgery


S.-H. Tseng, Department of Surgery, University Hospital and College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, No 7, Chong-Shang South Road, Taipei 100, Taiwan (tel.: +886 2 23 56 21 44; fax: +886 2 23 41 83 95, e-mail:


Background and purpose:  Deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery has been performed using frame-based stereotaxy traditionally; however, in recent years, it has also been performed using frameless stereotaxy. The purpose of this study was to compare the experience at our centre in performing DBS surgery using frameless surgery for patients with Parkinson’s disease with that of using frame-based surgery.

Methods:  Twenty-four patients with advanced Parkinson’s disease underwent DBS surgery, 12 with frameless and 12 with frame-based stereotaxy. After identifying the subthalamus by microelectrode recording (MER), the DBS electrodes were implanted and connected to an implanted programmable generator in all patients. Programming was started 1 month after the operation and the outcome of the patients was followed up regularly for at least 12 months.

Results:  After 1 year of follow-up, the patients who received frameless surgery showed no difference in the degree of improvement in clinical motor function compared with the patients who received frame-based surgery (P = 0.819); the average improvement was 60.9% and 56.9%, respectively, in the stimulation alone/medication-off state, as evaluated by the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale-III motor subscore. However, the frameless group had significantly shorter total MER time (P = 0.0127) and a smaller number of trajectories (P = 0.0096) than the frame-based group.

Conclusions:  Our data indicate that frameless DBS surgery has a similar outcome when compared with frame-based surgery; however, frameless surgery can decrease the operation time, MER time, and MER trajectory number.