Deep brain stimulation is a surgical procedure in which a small device called a neurostimulator is implanted under the skin near the collar bone. Wires from the device with electrodes on their ends are positioned in areas of the brain that control motor function. Used in Parkinson's disease treatment and treatment of dystonia (severe muscle spasms), the device works through electrical stimulation of the brain's motor control regions, inhibiting abnormal nerve signals that cause tremor. Neurosurgeons use either MRI or CT imaging to accurately target the motor control area of the patient's brain for the stimulation system.
The deep brain stimulation procedure is most beneficial for treating essential tremor (a chronic neurologic movement disorder), motor fluctuation (variable symptom control after long-term use of medication), and patients who do not tolerate medications well due to side effects. Traditionally used for patients with advanced Parkinson's disease, deep brain stimulation is being evaluated for use earlier in the disease process, especially when medications begin to become less effective in controlling symptoms.
Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) is one of few centers in New England to offer deep brain stimulation treatment. Boston neurosurgeons are using deep brain stimulation and other functional neurosurgical techniques.
In addition to deep brain stimulation, other neurosurgical treatment options for Parkinson's disease at BWH includes stereotactic radiosurgery and lesion surgery. Neurosurgical treatment for Parkinson's disease is provided by specialists in our world-class BWH Department of Neurosurgery. The Department's Boston neurosurgery staff provides patient-focused, world-class medical treatment across the spectrum of neurological diseases, including Parkinson's disease.
The Movement Disorder Program at BWH provides comprehensive evaluation and treatment for patients with Parkinson's disease and other movement disorders. The Program's dedicated physicians, nurses, and researchers are working to advance the understanding and treatment of movement disorders.
Researchers at the BWH Department of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry are evaluating the use of deep brain stimulation for other brain conditions, including epilepsy treatment, boosting memory in patients with early Alzheimer's disease, and controlling the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder and some other psychiatric conditions, such as depression. This research is part of Brigham and Women's on-going multidisciplinary research to better understand and develop treatments for chronic neurological diseases like Parkinson's disease as well as multiple sclerosis therapy and Alzheimer's disease treatment.
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