Deep brain stimulation

Deep brain stimulation involves implanting electrodes within certain areas of your brain. These electrodes produce electrical impulses that regulate abnormal impulses. Or the electrical impulses can affect certain cells and chemicals within the brain.

The amount of stimulation in deep brain stimulation is controlled by a pacemaker-like device placed under the skin in your upper chest. A wire that travels under your skin connects this device to the electrodes in your brain.

Deep brain stimulation is approved to treat a number of conditions, such as:

  • Dystonia
  • Epilepsy
  • Essential tremor
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Parkinson’s disease

Deep brain stimulation is also being studied as a potential treatment for:

  • Addiction
  • Chronic pain
  • Cluster headache
  • Dementia
  • Depression (major)
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Stroke recovery
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Traumatic brain injury

Indictions

  • Deep brain stimulation is an established treatment for people with movement disorders, such as essential tremor, Parkinson’s disease and dystonia, and psychiatric conditions, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder. It’s also approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration to reduce seizures in difficult-to-treat epilepsy.
  • This treatment is reserved for people who aren’t able to get control of their symptoms with medications.

Results

  • Deep brain stimulation won’t cure your disease, but it may help lessen your symptoms. If deep brain stimulation works, your symptoms will improve significantly, but they usually don’t go away completely. In some cases, medications may still be needed for certain conditions.
  • Deep brain stimulation isn’t successful for everyone. There are a number of variables involved in the success of deep brain stimulation. It’s important to talk with your doctor before surgery about what type of improvement you can expect for your condition.