Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) uses electrical stimulation in the brain to help control abnormal body movements. During the Deep Brain Stimulation surgery, a neurosurgeon places an electrode in the area of the brain that’s causing abnormal movement and tests it while you are awake to see if it successfully controls your symptoms. A small device that generates electrical pulses along a thin wire is then placed under your skin near your collarbone. The surgical team uses imaging technology to feed the wire through the skin to the electrode in the brain. The device will control the electrical impulses sent to your brain and can be adjusted to deliver more or less stimulation if your symptoms change.
DBS is a minimally invasive procedure that takes approximately four hours. After surgery, your symptoms should immediately improve, and you may be able to reduce the number of medicines you take to control symptoms.
Deep Brain Stimulation Procedure
In this procedure, one or more electrodes are implanted deep into the brain to alter abnormal brain activity. DBS can be used to control tremors, balance problems, and involuntary movements. It is performed under a combination of local and general anesthesia.
The patient’s scalp is numbed. A frame is secured to the head with pins tightened a few millimeters into the scalp.
An MRI produces a three-dimensional map of the brain. The frame gives the physician reference points that are used to select the target area in the brain.
Accessing the Brain
The surgeon drills a hole into the scalp. If the patient is having electrodes implanted on both sides of the brain, two holes will be needed.
Implanting the Electrode
A tiny electrode attached to a long, thin wire is carefully placed inside the brain using the frame and the MRI scan as a guide. Neural activity may be used to guide the electrode.
Testing the Placement
The surgeon works with the patient to determine the best site for the electrode. The patient may be asked to perform certain tasks or motions so that the surgeon can witness the effects of the electrode. The patient may experience flashes of light, involuntary twitches, or other sensations during the implantation.
Implanting the Pulse Generator
General anesthesia is administered for the final phase of the surgery. The pulse generator, a device that will allow the patient to control the stimulation (voltage, frequency, etc.), is implanted through a small incision near the collarbone. Wires are fed beneath the skin from the generator to the electrode.
What is a Movement Disorder?
Movement disorders are complex neurological conditions that cause involuntary or abnormal movements or affect your ability to control movements. Most movement disorders can’t be cured, but we can treat your symptoms to improve your quality of life.
The first step in treating a movement disorder is determining your exact diagnosis. Our movement disorder specialists will look at your brain function, nerves, strength, coordination, sensation, and reflexes to find the cause of your symptoms.
If you or a loved one is suffering from a movement disorder, contact a neurologist at First Choice Neurology.