Deep Brain Stimulation

Life-changing treatment for enhanced living

What is deep brain stimulation?

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a surgical option to treat symptoms of movement disorders.

Neurosurgeons place tiny electrodes in a specific region of the brain and attach them to a small device, similar to a cardiac pacemaker. The device delivers undetectable electric shocks to control tremors and other symptoms. 

DBS has been successful in treating conditions such as Parkinson's disease, essential tremor, dystonia, and, most recently, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

With DBS, you can reduce your medication dosages and experience an improved quality of life.

Who is a candidate?

If you have one of the conditions below and medication and other treatments haven’t been successful, we may recommend DBS as a treatment option:

  • dystonia
  • essential tremor
  • medication-resistantParkinson's disease and OCD

What to expect with deep brain stimulation

Your neurologist and neurosurgeon will discuss with you the advantages and disadvantages of DBS. We'll explain the possible risks and answer all your questions.

Before surgery:

  • Once you elect to have DBS, you get detailed magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scans of your brain. These scans will help your neurosurgeon decide the best location to place the electrodes (called wires or leads) for the DBS.

During treatment:

  • This procedure involves the insertion of the stimulation lead(s) into your brain and the implantation of a stimulator battery, a pulse generator- under the skin of your upper chest.

After treatment:

  • You'll likely stay in the hospital for one day after the surgery to implant the DBS leads.
  • Recovery generally takes several weeks.
  • We’ll schedule a follow-up appointment a few weeks after the pulse generator implantation to start programming it. It may take some time and additional visits to fine-tune the pulse generator settings to find what works best for you.

Benefits of deep brain stimulation

Deep brain stimulation is an FDA-approved treatment that has helped many people manage the symptoms of Parkinson's disease and other conditions. Benefits you experience may include:

  • Improved motor control: DBS can help reduce tremors, stiffness and other movement problems, leading to better mobility and independence. If you’re having trouble with your daily tasks and activities, DBS could make them easier.
  • Reduced medication dependence: With DBS, lower medication dosages are often effective again, which means your symptoms are under control with reduced side effects.
  • Life-changing symptom improvement: DBS can significantly improve your quality of life by reducing symptoms and allowing for greater participation in daily activities.
  • DBS is reversible. A follow-up surgery can remove the leads and pulse generator if DBS does not work or causes unwanted side effects.
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