The Effect of Surgical Positioning on Pneumocephalus in Subthalamic Nucleus Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery for Parkinson Disease

Published:October 19, 2022DOI:



      This research analyzed the effect of surgical positioning on postoperative pneumocephalus and assessed additional potential risk factors of pneumocephalus in subthalamic nucleus (STN) deep brain stimulation (DBS) for Parkinson disease (PD).

      Materials and Methods

      In this study, 255 consecutive patients with PD who received bilateral STN DBS under general anesthesia were retrospectively included. Of these, 180 patients underwent surgery with their heads in an elevated position, and 75 patients underwent surgery in a supine position. The postoperative pneumocephalus volume was compared between the two groups. Other potential risk factors for pneumocephalus also were analyzed.


      The mean pneumocephalus volume for the group with elevated-head positioning (16.76 ± 15.23 cm3) was greater than for the supine group (3.25 ± 8.78 cm3) (p < 0.001). Multivariable analysis indicated that the pneumocephalus volume was related to surgical positioning, lateral trajectory angle, intraoperative mean arterial pressure (MAP), microelectrode recording (MER) passage number, brain atrophy degree, and the anterior trajectory angle. No correlation was found between pneumocephalus and age, sex, duration of PD, surgery length, or intracranial volume. In the subgroup analysis, the pneumocephalus volume exhibited a negative correlation with intraoperative MAP (r = −0.210, p = 0.005) and positive correlations with degree of brain atrophy (r = 0.242, p = 0.001) and MER passage number (r = 0.184, p = 0.014) in the elevated-head group. Specifically, an MER passage number > 3 was a significant risk factor for pneumocephalus in the elevated-head group. A positive correlation was observed between the pneumocephalus volume and the lateral trajectory angle in both groups (elevated-head positioning, r = 0.153, p = 0.041; supine positioning, r = 0.546, p < 0.001).


      In patients with PD who were anesthetized and receiving STN DBS, supine positioning reduced pneumocephalus volume compared with patients with PD receiving STN DBS with their heads elevated. The pneumocephalus volume was negatively correlated with intraoperative MAP and positively correlated with the degree of brain atrophy, the lateral trajectory angle, and the MER passage number.


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