Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has recently been proven to be an effective therapy for medication-refractory symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. As the evidence base continues to evolve, many important issues have surfaced, including: what operation should be performed (brain target[s], unilateral vs bilateral, simultaneous vs staged); when to operate (how early is too early to intervene?), who should be operated on (disease duration, age, symptom profiles and the use of the interdisciplinary screening team); and finally, why to operate (the rationale of surgery vs medication/apomorphine pumps/duodopa pumps/stem cell trials/gene therapy trials). We will address each of these critical issues, as well make the argument that a tailored approach to DBS and DBS targeting will best serve each potential candidate. We will review the multiple peer-reviewed studies and we will emphasize the recently available data from randomized DBS studies. We will argue that moving away from a single DBS target (e.g., subthalamic nucleus DBS) and a single approach to DBS methodology (e.g., bilateral simultaneous operations) is a reasonable next step for the Parkinson’s disease community. Following careful interdisciplinary DBS screening, a physician–patient discussion has the potential to establish a patient-centered and symptom-specific outcome for each potential DBS candidate. The interdisciplinary DBS team can function together to formulate and to consider an optimal and tailored approach. A tailored approach will allow for the consideration of the complex and numerous variables that may contribute to a positive or negative overall DBS outcome. We will review and provide expert commentary on a potential interdisciplinary approach to selecting unilateral or alternatively bilateral subthalamic nucleus or globus pallidus internus DBS. Our approach is aimed to maximize benefit(s) and minimize risk(s) in order to best tailor therapy for an individual patient.
Keywords: candidates, DBS, deep brain stimulation, GPi, Parkinson’s disease, STN