Deep brain stimulation is an established treatment for people with movement disorders, such as essential tremor, Parkinson’s disease and dystonia, and psychiatric conditions, such as obsessive compulsive disorder. It’s also approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration to reduce seizures in difficult-to-treat epilepsy.
This treatment is reserved for people who aren’t able to get control of their symptoms with medications
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery was first approved in 1997 to treat Parkinson’s disease (PD) tremor, then in 2002 for the treatment of advanced Parkinson’s symptoms. More recently, in 2016, DBS surgery was approved for the earlier stages of PD — for people who have had PD for at least four years and have motor symptoms not adequately controlled with medication.
In DBS surgery, electrodes are inserted into a targeted area of the brain, using MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and recordings of brain cell activity during the procedure. A second procedure is performed to implant an IPG, impulse generator battery (like a pacemaker). The IPG is placed under the collarbone or in the abdomen. The IPG provides an electrical impulse to a part of the brain involved in motor function. Those who undergo DBS surgery are given a controller to turn the device on or off.
DBS is certainly the most important therapeutic advancement since the development of levodopa. It is most effective for people who experience disabling tremors, wearing-off spells and medicationinduced dyskinesias, with studies showing benefits lasting at least five years. That said, it is not a cure and it does not slow PD progression. It is also not right for every person with PD. It is not thought to improve speech or swallow issues, thinking problems or gait freezing
Deep brain stimulation is approved to treat a number of conditions, such as
- Parkinson’s disease
- Essential tremor
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder