Principles of Stereotaxic Surgery and the Stereotaxic Frame
Stereotaxic (or stereotactic) surgery is a method used to manipulate the brain of living animals. This technique allows researchers to accurately target deep structures within the brain through the use of a stereotaxic atlas, which provides the 3D coordinates of each area with respect to anatomical landmarks on the skull. After the skull is exposed, anesthetized animals are mounted on a specialized instrument known as a stereotaxic frame, which enables the precise placement of experimental tools at the defined coordinates. Stereotaxic surgery is a versatile approach that can be used to generate lesions, manipulate gene expression, or deliver experimental agents to the brain.
This video-article provides a general overview of the principles behind stereotaxic surgery, including instructions for using a stereotaxic atlas and the stereotaxic frame, and an introduction to reading the Vernier scale for measurement of probe movements. The subsequent discussion outlines the steps required to perform the surgical procedure. Lastly, a broad range of technical applications are presented, such as the insertion of electrical probes to measure brain activity and genetic manipulation of brain tissue.
Stereotaxic surgery is a powerful technique utilized to manipulate the brain in living animals. Targeting regions deep within the intact brain poses a unique problem in that usually the surgical target cannot be located visually. Stereotaxy or stereotactic surgery was devised to target discrete regions of the brain by knowing their spatial relationships to visible landmarks. Using a three-dimensional coordinate system, tools can be directed to specific locations in order to measure brain activity, make a lesion, or perfor
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