Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery

If your doctor recommends deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery to treat the symptoms of your movement disorder, you will have multiple tests and see several specialists to ensure the procedure is right for you.

DBS uses a neurostimulator placed under the skin of your chest and electrodes implanted in the brain. The neurostimulator sends electrical impulses to the brain, which reduces movement disorder symptoms such as tremor and stiffness.

Evaluation Process for DBS Surgery

Your doctor wants to make sure that DBS surgery is as safe and effective as possible for you. Tests you may need include:

  • CT (computed tomography). X-rays and computer technology form a picture of the brain.
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). Magnets and radio waves create detailed images of the brain.
  • ROSA™ Brain. Your doctor may use the ROSA Brain robotic surgical assistant. ROSA can create a highly detailed brain scan and map out a specific surgical pathway for precise placement of electrodes.
  • Lab tests such as blood work, to ensure you are healthy enough for surgery

Imaging tests help your surgeon pinpoint the part of the brain responsible for your movement disorder symptoms. The images also guide the neurosurgeon when placing the electrodes during your procedure.

You will also meet with other doctors to make sure that DBS surgery is the best procedure for you. Other specialists you may consult with include:

  • Neurologist
  • Neurosurgeon
  • Psychologist

If you are considering surgery, you should ask questions about the procedure and follow-up care. A clinical case manager will meet with you to help you understand the procedure, make decisions and navigate the process.

What Happens During Your Procedure

When a DBS procedure occurs, you are awake for part of the surgery and asleep with anesthesia for another part. The surgical procedure takes place in an operating room and typically involves:

  • Placement of a special frame to hold the head still
  • Mapping the target area in the brain, while the patient is awake and participating
  • Implanting the wires and pacemaker while the patient is asleep under anesthesia

What to Expect After Surgery

Once you recover from your procedure, you will meet with the neurologist to program the neurostimulator and make any needed adjustments to your medicines.

The DBS device only treats symptoms of movement disorders. Most patients who have DBS surgery continue taking some medicines to get the best results.

You will continue with follow-up appointments as recommended by your doctor.

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