Deep Brain Stimulation

For certain patients with a neurological condition, deep brain stimulation can address movement disorders and enhance quality of life.

Deep brain stimulation is a therapeutic surgical option for treating movement disorders, such as uncontrollable shaking and twitching, associated with certain neurological conditions. Movement-related symptoms can result from disorganized electrical signals generated by areas of the brain that control movement. Functioning like a pacemaker for the brain, deep brain stimulation utilizes implanted electrodes and a pulse-generating device to send electrical impulses to targeted areas of the brain. The device is custom programmed by a neurologist to meet the specific needs of the patient.

What Conditions Can Be Treated With Deep Brain Stimulation?

Deep brain stimulation may be a treatment option for a patient who is diagnosed with an advanced neurological condition that causes a movement disorder that cannot be adequately controlled with medication. Such conditions may include:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Dystonia
  • Essential tremor

Recent studies suggest that some patients who are diagnosed with depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or Tourette’s symptom may also benefit from deep brain stimulation.

What Does Deep Brain Stimulation Involve?

Deep brain stimulation is usually completed during two separate surgical sessions spaced a few days or weeks apart to allow the patient sufficient time to recover. The process involves:

  • Stage 1 – During the first procedure, electrodes are implanted into specific areas of the brain. Guided by highly detailed magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the surgeon maps the brain and identifies the electrode placement sites. Throughout the surgery, the patient remains awake and responsive while the treatment team performs various tests to ensure the optimal placement of the electrodes.
  • Stage 2 – During the second procedure, a tiny neurostimulator is implanted under the skin near the collarbone. The device is connected to thin, insulated extension wires attached to the electrodes placed in stage one.

What Can You Expect with Deep Brain Stimulation?

Although deep brain stimulation does not cure movement disorders, it can significantly improve a patient’s quality of life. Additionally, the patient may need to take less medication—and experience fewer side effects—as a result.

An Effective Treatment for Movement Disorders

Tampa General Hospital is committed to helping our patients achieve the best possible outcomes with innovative movement disorder treatments, such as deep brain stimulation. To ensure the greatest likelihood of success, we utilize the most advanced imaging and surgical tools and provide our patients with individualized attention from a team of highly experienced physicians.