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Deep Brain Stimulation as a Treatment for Movement Disorders

Deep brain stimulation is a well-established treatment option for patients who are dealing with a range of movement disorders, such as essential tremor, parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, and dystonia. It involves implanting specific areas of the brain with electrodes, which produce mild electrical pulses that may block the brain signals responsible for certain movement disorder symptoms. Though not a cure for any movement disorder, deep brain stimulation has been proven to significantly reduce tremors and ease other symptoms in many patients, thereby improving their quality of life.

Because deep brain stimulation is a surgical procedure, it is not without risks and is typically only considered when other treatment options, such as medication, have not achieved desired results. The treatment includes:

  • Brain surgery – Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), physicians first determine which areas of the brain should be implanted with electrodes. During surgery, electrodes are inserted into specific areas of the brain. Patients will typically remain awake during the procedure to provide feedback that the surgical team can use to correctly place the electrodes.
  • Chest wall surgery – This portion of the procedure involves implanting the pulse generator, which is programmed to send continuous electrical pulses, and connecting it via a wire to the electrodes in the brain.

Tampa General Hospital is committed to providing patients with the best treatment outcomes for their movement disorders. To ensure the greatest likelihood of success, we utilize the most advanced imaging and surgical tools and provide patients with individualized attention from a team of highly experienced physicians.