Peri-Lead Edema After Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery: A Poorly Understood but Frequent Complication



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Objective: Postoperative peri-lead edema (PLE) is a poorly understood complication of deep brain stimulation (DBS), which has been described sporadically in patients presenting with profound and often delayed symptoms. We performed a prospective evaluation of patients undergoing DBS to determine the frequency of and identify risk factors for PLE. Methods: Patients underwent DBS electrode placement by a single physician. Postoperative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was performed approximately 6 weeks after the operation in asymptomatic subjects and analyzed for presence of PLE. All symptomatic subjects underwent MRI at the time of presentation. Data regarding index disease, preoperative medical issues, operative technique, and intraoperative variables were collected and statistically analyzed. Results: A total of 191 leads were placed in 102 subjects; 15 patients (14.7%) demonstrated PLE. Seven patients (6.9%) presented with symptoms related to PLE, most often altered mental status or neurologic deficit. Many of the MRI findings were profound, with PLE sometimes several centimeters in diameter. No statistically significant difference was found between PLE-positive and normal subjects when analyzing multiple variables, including presence of vascular disease, hypertension, anticoagulant/antiplatelet use, electrode target, index disease, unilateral versus bilateral lead placement, number of brain penetrations, and presence or absence of microelectrode recording. Conclusions: Patients with postoperative PLE can present with severe symptoms or can be asymptomatic and go undiagnosed. Because of the delayed-onset potential, PLE may be more common than previously reported. No clear risk factors have been identified; therefore, further studies and increased clinical vigilance are paramount for improving comprehension and possible prevention of PLE.

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World Neurosurgery





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