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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 may need two surgeries 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 often put in during separate surgeries on different days. Your doctor will drill small holes in your skull. Then tiny wire electrodes are placed in your brain. You may or may not be awake during the surgery. If you're awake, you will help the doctor know where to place the electrodes where they will work best. If you're not awake, your doctor might 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. You will stay in the hospital for a day or two after this surgery.
The other step is to put in a small, battery-powered generator. It's placed under the skin of your chest near your collarbone. This device is 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. Your doctor may wait for you to heal before turning on the generator.
Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.
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Current as of: August 25, 2022
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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