Object: While many centers place bilateral deep brain stimulation (DBS) systems simultaneously, unilateral subthalamic nucleus (STN) DBS followed by a staged contralateral procedure has emerged as a treatment option for many patients. However, little is known about whether the preoperative phenotype predicts when staged placement of a DBS electrode in the opposite STN will be required. The authors aimed to determine whether preoperative clinical phenotype predicts early staged placement of a second STN DBS electrode in patients who undergo unilateral STN DBS for Parkinson disease (PD). Methods: Eighty-two consecutive patients with advanced PD underwent unilateral STN DBS contralateral to the most affected hemibody and had at least 2 years of follow-up. Multivariate logistic regression analysis determined preoperative characteristics that predicted staged placement of a second electrode in the opposite STN. Preoperative measurements included aspects of the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS), motor asymmetry index, and body weight. Results: At 2-year follow-up, 28 (34%) of the 82 patients had undergone staged placement of a contralateral electrode while the remainder chose to continue with unilateral stimulation. Statistically significant improvements in UPDRS total and Part 3 scores were retained at the end of the 2-year follow-up period in both subsets of patients. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that the most important predictors for early staged placement of a second subthalamic stimulator were low asymmetry index (OR 13.4, 95% CI 2.8-64.9), high tremor subscore (OR 7.2, CI 1.5-35.0), and low body weight (OR 5.5, 95% CI 1.4-22.3). Conclusions: This single-center study provides evidence that elements of the preoperative PD phenotype predict whether patients will require early staged bilateral STN DBS. These data may aid in the management of patients with advanced PD who undergo STN DBS. ©AANS, 2013.