Deep Brain Stimulation

Advanced Treatment to Calm Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

Deep brain stimulation, or DBS, is one of the many advanced treatment options offered at Loyola Medicine. DBS has proven to be a highly effective approach to calm the muscle and movement symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and control impulses that lead to tremor, stiffness, rigidity, slowed movement and walking problems. 

DBS can also be effective in controlling the movement symptoms of Huntington’s disease, dystonia and other motor disorders. This procedure is considered an option if symptom management with medication is no longer effective in controlling motor symptoms. 

DBS delivers electrical impulses to specific areas of the brain that control movement and interrupts the abnormal nerve signals that cause movement disorders. With DBS, a small medical device similar to a heart pacemaker is implanted during surgery.

Why Choose Loyola for Deep Brain Stimulation?

Loyola takes a multidisciplinary approach to patient care and provides support services for patients and families. Our neurology and neurosurgery services are nationally recognized. As an academic medical center, Loyola provides compassionate, exceptional care to patients and trains future leaders in neurology and neurosurgery. 

What to Expect with Deep Brain Stimulation

Your Loyola neurosurgeon will prepare for your surgery by creating a detailed map of your brain using MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or CT scan (computed tomography) to determine the exact location in the brain that needs to be stimulated; usually, this is the thalamus, subthalamic nucleus or globus pallidus. Only a local anesthetic is required, because the brain does not have pain receptors. You will be awake and alert during your surgery so that your doctor can talk to you to determine that the correct areas of the brain are being stimulated. 

Deep brain stimulation involves positioning leads or electrodes in specific locations in the brain. The leads are inserted through a small skull opening. This part of surgery takes five to seven hours, and patients usually stay in the hospital for one to two days after surgery. 

A few days later, you will undergo the second portion of surgery, which is the implantation of the pulse generator in the chest, near the collarbone. For this portion of surgery, general anesthesia is used. Once your surgery is complete, you can control the pulse generator with a remote control. You will be able to go home on the day of surgery.

What are the Risks of Deep Brain Stimulation?

There is a small chance of infection, hemorrhage (bleeding) or stroke due to deep brain stimulation. Temporary brain tissue swelling may trigger mild disorientation, personality change or sleepiness. You may experience mild pain after the procedure.