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Deep brain stimulation (DBS) uses electrical pulses to stimulate an area of the brain. This can change the activity in that area of the brain. You will need surgery to implant the devices that stimulate the brain.
Most often, DBS is used to relieve symptoms of Parkinson's disease when they can't be controlled by medicines. But it can also be used for other conditions, such as multiple sclerosis and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
The devices are implanted in two steps. First, your doctor will drill two small holes in your skull. Then he or she will place tiny wire electrodes in your brain. You may be awake during the surgery so that you can help the doctor place the electrodes where they will work best. But your doctor might also use a type of imaging (MRI) to help place the electrodes.
It may seem scary to be awake during this surgery. But your scalp will be numb. You won't feel any pain.
The second step is to implant a small, battery-powered generator. It's placed under the skin of your chest near your collarbone. This device is then connected to the electrodes in your brain. To do this, the doctor will use a small wire that runs under your scalp and skin. You won't be awake for this surgery.
After the surgery, you will have a short hospital stay. The generator will be turned on before you go home.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
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Current as of: June 3, 2018
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & G. Frederick Wooten MD - Neurology & Colin Chalk MD, CM, FRCPC - Neurology
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