How Does Deep Brain Stimulation Work?

Deep Brain Stimulation pic

Deep Brain Stimulation
Image: parkinson.org

Dr. Badih Adada, a neurosurgeon at Cleveland Clinic Florida and a former medical director and professor, possesses more than two decades of experience in a range of neurological specialties. Among these fortes is a sound understanding of movement disorders and deep brain stimulation, and Dr. Badih Adada carries out related procedures for patients suffering from epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease.

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is one surgical option for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, and can improve symptoms–tremors, rigidity, and difficulty walking, for instance–by blocking electrical signals stemming from certain parts of the brain. The procedure is generally reserved for patients whose symptoms have not responded to medication.

Prior to the surgery, the patient is given an MRI, the image from which helps the neurosurgeon pinpoint the precise spot in the brain requiring stimulation. The location is most often within the thalamus, subthalamic nucleus, or globus pallidus.

The DBS implantation device is made up of three parts: A lead or electrode is implanted into the brain; it is then connected to an IPG (implantable pulse generator) via an insulated wire “extension” that passes beneath the skin, along the shoulder, neck, and head.

DBS procedures do not cause any significant permanent changes to the brain. If the implant results in negative side effects, or the patient chooses to end the treatment for any reason, the IPB can be removed, halting stimulation.

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