Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a surgical option for patients with Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, and dystonia. During DBS surgery a thin electrode is implanted within a specific area of the brain and connected to a battery- operated neurostimulator (similar to a pacemaker). The neurostimulator is surgically placed in the chest wall usually one to two weeks after electrode placement.Once in place, the neurostimulator(s) are programmed to deliver a mild electrical pulse to the area of the brain that controls the abnormal movements associated with their disorder. By adjusting the stimulation, patients can experience relieved or decreased symptoms of tremor, rigidity, slowness of movement, stiffness, and balance.

Patients Who May Benefit from DBS

  • Patients with moderate to severe Parkinson's disease, who experience adequate control of their symptoms with medications but are having less “on” time.
  • Any patient who is not satisfied with his/her increasing loss of control of movement related to tremor or dystonia.
  • A patient who experiences symptoms which are causing a decline in the quality of their life.

How is DBS Performed?

Patients are admitted to the hospital the evening before their procedure. It is imperative that Parkinson medications be stopped for the procedure.

A stereotactic frame is placed on the head; this is performed with sedation for comfort. Once the frame is placed, MRI imaging is done to assist with targeting for lead placement.

In the operating room, under anesthesia, minimally-invasive neurosurgical technique is performed for lead placement. There is no pain involved with the procedure. Lead placement is guided by very sophisticated brain mapping technology along with neuro-monitoring. Neurologic examination of the patient is performed every step of the way.

Following the procedure, the patient is admitted and monitored in the hospital overnight for several days. Following that patients are scheduled for placement of the neurostimulator(s). This takes place 1-2 weeks later, under general anesthesia.

Following Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) Surgery

Routine post-operative office visits will be scheduled to evaluate post-op recovery and healing approximately 2 weeks after release from the hospital.

Programming of the neurostimulators is begun approximately one month post-operatively. This is an exciting time for both patient and family.

A series of adjustments will be made over the next several months to achieve optimal results. Patients who have undergone DBS typically see improvement in their symptoms and experience an improvement in the quality of their life. In addition, patients are able to reduce their daily medications post-operatively.

Benefits of Choosing the Cooper Neurological Institute for DBS

The Cooper Neurological Institute, under the leadership of H. Warren Goldman MD, PhD (Chief of Neurosurgery, Director of the Cooper Neurological Institute) offers a team of qualified and compassionate professionals who are involved in a patient’s care.

The Cooper Neurological Institute DBS Program is based on the concept of collaborative medicine. Our team includes professionals from neurosurgery, neurology, neuro-psychiatry, psychiatry, anesthesia including physician assistants, nursing and secretarial professionals. We understand the difficulty in making a decision for surgical intervention and offer a comprehensive treatment approach to patients, as well as family support.