Deep Brain Stimulation
Deep brain stimulation is a procedure that involves implanting electrodes in specific areas of the brain as a way to regulate abnormal brain impulses and/or affect brain cells and chemicals.
Deep brain stimulation is used to treat a variety of neurological conditions, including obsessive compulsive disorder, Parkinson’s disease, chronic pain, essential tremors, dystonia and Tourette syndrome. Studies are being done to identify if the procedure is an effective treatment for other conditions, including depression, addiction and mroe.
The treatment is generally recommended for people whose symptoms aren’t responsive to medications. Medical tests, including brain-imaging studies, will be done prior to surgery to determine if your child is a candidate for surgery. Other evaluations may include a neuropsychological evaluation, a psychiatric evaluation and more.
An MRI is performed to determine where to place the electrodes. Most patients remain awake during surgery, with a local anesthetic to numb the scalp. The patient is, then, able to speak with the neurologist and determine that the correct areas of the brain are being stimulated. The surgeon will then implant a thin wire lead and electrodes into specifically identified areas in the brain. A wire is placed under the skin, connecting to a pulse generator near the collarbone. The second part of the surgery involves the surgeon implanting the pulse generator under the skin near the collarbone. Then, wires from the brain electrodes are guided to the battery-operated pulse generator.
A few weeks post-surgery, you meet with your child’s doctor to program the pulse generator so that the appropriate amount of stimulation is utilized. You are able to control the generator and turn it off and on using a remote. When batteries need to be replaced, this can be done in an outpatient procedure.