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Services: Deep Brain Stimulation

Deep brain stimulation, or DBS, is a surgery to implant a device that sends electrical signals to brain areas responsible for body movement. Electrodes are placed deep in the brain and are connected to a stimulator device. Similar to a heart pacemaker, a neuro stimulator uses electric pulses to regulate brain activity. DBS can help reduce the symptoms of epilepsy, Parkinson's disease and other movement disorders. Once surgery is complete, the DBS device is programmed in the outpatient clinic by a neurologist or epileptologist. Successful DBS allows people to potentially reduce their medications and improve their quality of life.

DBS therapy was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2017, 2002 and 1998. This therapy is also approved in Europe, Australia, Japan and Canada.

What conditions does DBS treat?

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

  • Dystonia, including spasmodic torticollis
  • Epilepsy
  • Essential tremor
  • Parkinson's disease

DBS does not eliminate a patient’s condition, however, successful treatments will help reduce symptoms. In some cases, medications may still be required.

How do I know if I’m a candidate for DBS?

Before being considered a candidate for DBS, patients must undergo an extensive evaluation process. Our multidisciplinary team of neurologists and neurosurgeons work with a neuropsychologist/psychiatrist to assess each patient based on their condition.

Some patients may additionally require a speech and swallowing evaluation and psychiatric evaluation for treatment of active affective disorders.

How does DBS work?

The deep brain stimulation device has thin wires that carry electrical impulses from the neurostimulator device directly to the brain to modulate the brain circuitry to help reduce the patients symptoms.

DBS does not damage healthy brain tissue or destroy nerve cells. Instead, the procedure interrupts problematic electrical signals from targeted areas in the brain to improve motor symptoms.

The DBS neurostimulator is a battery operated device that can be programmed like a tiny computer, similar to a cardiac pacemaker, to control symptoms.

The device is programmed by your neurologist to deliver tiny electrical impulses to control symptoms and improve quality of life.

How helpful is DBS?

DBS is not a cure but can decrease the number and severity of conditions in many people.

The positive effects of DBS therapy may not be seen right away. It can take up to several months to completely program the device. For patients with epilepsy and dystonia, the longer the device is stimulating the better the benefits or reduction of symptoms.

DBS is typically used together with medication. Like other devices used to treat epilepsy or Parkinson’s, if seizure or tremor control improves with DBS, medicines may be lowered to lessen side effects.

How do I know if I am a candidate for deep brain stimulation, or DBS?

Determining if a person may benefit from DBS therapy starts with meeting your movement disorders and epilepsy specialist, along with the surgeon, to see if you are a good DBS candidate.

Contact

For more information or to request an appointment, call 904-383-1022 or email skullbasecenter@jax.ufl.edu.