Deep Brain Stimulation- Surgery
What do I need to know about the surgery?
The surgical procedure is usually separated into two stages.
Brain surgery to implant the electrical leads.
In the first operation, a surgeon inserts a DBS lead wire into the brain after confirming satisfactory location by testing the response to stimulation while the patient is awake. This complex, detailed surgery may take several hours. The patient is awake and examined during the surgery, because the surgical team needs to measure the effect of stimulation on your movement symptoms. By testing the effects of stimulation in the operating room, the surgical team gets valuable information to determine that the electrode is located in the right area of the brain with millimeter precision. Newer techniques under research study are investigating the performance of surgery under general anesthesia using special brain MRI imaging equipment. It is not yet certain that the accuracy and outcomes of this technique will match current surgical procedures.
Stage two. Implanting and connecting the battery to the brain leads.
In the second surgery, a neurotransmitter, otherwise known as the battery, is implanted under the skin typically in the upper chest area.
The wires are tunneled under the skin, typically behind the ear to connect to the brain wires.
There are potential risks with any surgery including DBS. Serious risks and concerns with surgery include infection, bleeding in the brain, seizure and confusion. The percent of patients that experience these problems is under 5%. It is important to talk with your surgeon to know the true risks in their ‘hands’.
Author: Sierra Farris, PA-C
DBS Services Director, Movement & Neuroperformance Center of Colorado
Copyright 2011 Northwest Parkinson's Foundation Wellness Center