Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS): Surgery

Is Surgery For You?

Surgeon doing DBS

When medicines are no longer effective in controlling symptoms and supplemental therapies such as physical therapy, speech therapy, environmental changes are no longer helping, it is time to consider Deep Brain Stimulation therapy. Ask,How many hours a day do your symptoms not let you do what you want to do? It is a quality of life question for the patient.

Surgeon doing DBS

If the answer to the above question suggests that surgery is an option, it is important to know what surgery usually helps and what surgery does not help. If Deep Brain Stimulation to help treat specific symptoms has a reasonable chance to cause improvement, the next step is to consider the risks and goals of surgery and possible side effects. Links for information regarding all these topics are on the Deep Brain Stimulation Home Page under the Surgery section. If the benefits are greater than the risks of surgery, and one wishes to try the surgical option, it is helpful to understand the basic surgical process.

Surgeon doing microelectrode recording

One can consider the surgical technique in five steps:

  1. Use of a Stereotactic Frame or Frameless Technique.
  2. Computerized Direction for Electrode Placement.
  3. Microelectrode Recording to Map the Brain for Best Placement.
  4. Electrode Placement.
  5. Pulse Generator Placement.
Links to each of these surgical topics are on the Deep Brain Stimulation Home Page.