Deep Brain Stimulation

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) for Parkinson’s disease was approved by the FDA in 2002. Since its approval, DBS has been widely accepted as a beneficial treatment with long term efficacy. It has been shown in multiple studies to relieve the characteristic motor symptoms of the disease while at the same time decreasing motor fluctuations, dyskinesia, and the need for dopaminergic medications. Patients have shown to have higher quality of life following the procedure compared to being on medications alone.

Good Samaritan Medical Center has brought together surgeons and neurologists with specific training in DBS.

Features of the new program and specialty staff include:

  • Neurologists specifically trained in assessing candidates for surgery, surgical targeting, microelectrode monitoring, intra-operative assessments to determine appropriate placement of the electrodes
  • Neurosurgeons specially trained in functional and stereotactic surgery
  • Post-operative imaging performed on all patients to ensure electrodes are appropriately placed
  • Bilateral electrode placement commonly performed on the same day
  • Optimize programming from information gained in the surgery and post-operative imaging

Deep Brain Stimulation

  • Deep brain stimulation is a surgical treatment for several neurological disorders including Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor and dystonia
  • Deep brain stimulation (DBS) provides a continuous, high frequency electrical signal to specific regions in the brain that disrupt the abnormally firing brain circuits that occur in these conditions
  • DBS provides lasting and remarkable therapeutic benefits for many of the symptoms associated with these movement disorders

How it Works

  • The DBS system consists of three components: the lead, the extension, and the implanted pulse generator (neurostimulator)
  • The lead is a thin, insulated wire that is inserted through a small opening in the skull and implanted in the brain; the tip of the electrode is positioned within the targeted brain area.
  • The extension is an insulated wire that is passed under the skin of the head, neck, and shoulder, connecting the lead to the neurostimulator
  • The neurostimulator—the battery pack—is the third component and is usually implanted under the skin near the collarbone; the whole system lies under the skin
  • The pacemaker device delivers a constant, high-frequency stimulus to the tip of the electrode implanted in the brain
  • This stimulus interrupts specific circuits in the brain that are overactive in the disease state

Conditions DBS Treats

  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved DBS as a treatment for essential tremor in 1997 and Parkinson’s disease in 2002
  • Under the humanitarian device exemption, the FDA has approved DBS for dystonia in 2003 and obsessive compulsive disorder in 2009
  • DBS is being investigated, experimentally, for many other medical conditions including Tourette’s syndrome, depression and epilepsy

Candidates for DBS

  • Patients with Parkinson’s disease who have developed motor fluctuations, abnormal involuntary movements associated with dopaminergic therapy, or medication intolerance due to side effects
  • Patients with disabling tremors that are not adequately controlled by medications
  • Patients with dystonia who have impairments in motor skills or pain that does not respond to multiple medications or non-surgical therapies such as botulinum toxin