Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS)

Sometimes, due to advanced Parkinson’s disease, essential tremors, multiple sclerosis or dystonia, the brain’s signals fire irregularly and cause involuntary movement and shaking throughout the body. 

We understand how these diseases can affect even the most routine aspects of daily life. If you suffer from movement related symptoms, consider deep brain stimulation (DBS). 

DBS is a procedure that works by placing thin electrodes in areas of the brain affected by neurological disorders. Those electrodes then send electrical pulses to normalize or eliminate irregular brain signals, helping manage the movement symptoms affecting you. It is commonly compared to a pacemaker for the brain.

DBS provides essential treatment for patients whose medication just isn’t working anymore. Using DBS in combination with an optimized medication regimen can have a transformative effect on a patients’ quality of life because the electrodes remain active in between doses of medication. 

For over 30 years, the DBS procedure has been improved upon by Providence St. Joseph Health surgeons with leading-edge research and technology. Our nationally recognized neuropsychologists are now using DBS in experimental clinical trials to treat major depression, addiction, ADHD and dementia.

We take a multidisciplinary approach to evaluating our patients receiving DBS. This means that neurosurgeons, neuropsychologists, neurologists, specialists and assistants all work together to ensure that your procedure is as efficient and convenient as can be. 

Before the procedure, your neurological team will conduct an MRI to locate the specific regions in the brain the electrodes will be placed. During the operation, your surgeon will use minimally invasive techniques to insert the electrodes under the skin of the neck and place them in the necessary brain locations. Your surgeon will also place a small pulse generator under your collarbone to help regulate the strength of the impulses.

We provide a customized, frameless approach to your DBS surgery. It employs a custom-made mini-frame that allows the patient more freedom of movement during the procedure. This ensures that you are as comfortable as possible while reducing surgery time. It allows us to optimize your recovery without compromising the precision of the procedure. 

Thanks to our advanced research in neurological procedures, patients experience better long-term outcomes post-operation with minimal side effects. Still, some risks and complications may arise. For DBS surgery, these complications may include brain hemorrhaging, stroke and seizures. Because the surgery involves stimulating the brain, you may experience numbness or tingling, muscle tightness and unwanted mood changes.