Role of directional configuration in deep brain stimulation for essential tremor: A single center experience

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4 Scopus citations


Background: Traditionally, the standard of care for medication refractory essential tremor has been to utilize omnidirectional deep brain stimulation of the ventral intermediate nucleus. The advent of directional stimulation allows for spatial restriction of the stimulation on selected targets without involving the neighboring structures, thereby limiting off-target side effects and improving clinical utility. Methods: We performed a retrospective review of patients between February 2017 and September 2019 who had received ventral intermediate nucleus deep brain stimulation that allowed for directional programming (specifically Abbott/St. Jude). Initial and final major programming sessions post-operatively (approximately 30-and 90-days post-surgery) were examined to determine frequency and reason for use of directional programming. Results: A total of 33 total patients were identified. A little over half were males (58%, N = 19), with an average age of 68 years old (SD 9.3) at the time of surgery, and a disease duration of almost 30 years (27.2, SD 19) with a wide range from 2–62 years. After initial programming, over 50% (17 of 33) of patients were using directional configurations. This increased to 85% (28 of 33) at the 90-day programming. Reasons for conversion to directional configuration included avoidance of side effects (specifically, muscle contractions (9/33), paresthesia (5/33), dysarthria (1/33) and gait ataxia (1/33)) or improved tremor control (12/33). Discussion: Our single-center experience suggests that in the large majority of cases, directional leads were utilized and offered advantages in tremor control or side effect avoidance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number47
JournalTremor and Other Hyperkinetic Movements
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021


  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Directional configuration
  • Essential tremor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Medicine(all)


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