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November 7, 1966

The Future of Stereotaxic Surgery

JAMA. 1966;198(6):648-652. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110190130033

Stereotaxic surgery in humans was first reported in 19471 despite the fact that it has been per formed in animals since 1908.2 In animals, the location of the target area in the brain could be determined from bony landmarks of the skull since the relationship between such landmarks and the various intracerebral, subcortical structures was remarkably constant. In humans, however, it became obvious that these relationships were not precise and internal landmarks, such as the anterior or posterior commissures, had to be established. By the use of such internal landmarks, it became possible to place an electrode into a predetermined, subcortical location with an error of not greater than 1 mm. Primarily because this precision was possible and because a properly placed stereotaxic lesion could abolish the rigidity and tremor of Parkinson's disease, stereotaxic techniques developed rapidly—by August, 1965, over 24,000 stereotaxic procedures had been performed in various countries.3