What is Deep Brain Stimulation?

Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) is a surgical treatment to help treat debilitating neurological conditions. Deep Brain Stimulation uses a "brain pacemaker" that sends electrical impulses (signals) to help regulate the symptoms of cognitive and movement disorders. A small pacemaker-like device (the size of a stopwatch) is surgically placed in the chest area. Through small wires placed under the skin, it sends signals to electrodes that are placed in the brain. These signals help disrupt or stop the messages sent to the brain that produce shaking, difficulty moving, etc.

Deep Brain Stimulation Tremor Treatment Alzheimer Treatment

What conditions does Deep Brain Stimulation treat?

Deep Brain Stimulation uses minimally invasive, non-destructive and reversible techniques to help patients with movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor and dystonias.

Who is a candidate for Deep Brain Stimulation?

  • The symptoms of his/her movement disorder are affecting quality of life.
  • He/she is dissatisfied with the symptoms of the disorder and is looking for a new treatment option.
  • He/she has undergone a reasonable course of medications to control symptoms without satisfactory results (not controlled by medication or intolerable side effects)
Deep Brain Stimulation Preparation Swedish Medical Center

How effective is Deep Brain Stimulation?

Experience has shown us that Deep Brain Stimulation can be very effective when used on the right candidate.

The benefits can last for several years and, on average, patients see a 50 percent improvement in mobility and balance. This procedure usually doubles the amount of "on-time" for Parkinson's patients (time that the patient is mobile and performing every day tasks without involuntary movement). It also has been shown to reduce 80 percent of symptoms for patients who have involuntary movements due to medications.

Learn more about our pre-surgical screening process