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Deep Brain Stimulation Fact Sheet

View Deep Brain Stimulation Fact Sheet  (PDF, 348 KB)

Deep brain stimulation at UK HealthCare

The Movement Disorders Clinic specializes in the evaluation and treatment of disorders of gait, coordination and other aspects of movement and uses deep brain stimulation to treat these conditions.

What is deep brain stimulation?

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a surgical procedure used to treat a variety of symptoms caused by different movement disorders. An electrode (a plastic coated fine wire) is placed in an area deep in the brain. DBS involves a battery-operated medical device surgically implanted under the skin over each side of the chest. After the device is implanted into the brain, the battery and brain electrode are linked to wire running under the skin, neck and scalp

After the deep brain stimulation devices are implanted into the chest and brain, an external device is given to the patient so that he/she can turn the stimulation on or off. These devices are very similar to a heart pacemaker and are approximately the size of a stopwatch. In some cases, the wire is only implanted to one side of the brain, while in other cases the wire can be attached to both sides of the brain. The wire contains electrodes that give electrical stimulation to targeted areas in the brain that control movement without destroying the brain. The electrical stimulation blocks the abnormal nerve signals that cause the symptoms of disorders such as Parkinson's disease and essential tremor. Since every patient's stimulation level will be different, a physician uses a programmer that controls the intensity and frequency of the electrical impulses.

What deep brain stimulation treats

Deep brain stimulation can safely treat symptoms from a variety of movement disorders that include the following:

  • Parkinson's Disease - Deep brain stimulation is most commonly used for treatment of Parkinson's disease symptoms such as tremor, walking problems, stiffness and slowed movement.
  • Essential Tremor - A chronic condition that causes uncontrollable trembling of the voice or body part; the most common areas affected are the hands and arms. DSB is mainly used to control the tremor in the hand and arm.
  • Dystonia - A neurological disorder characterized by repetitive muscle contractions, which causes twisting and jerking of the body or body part. Deep brain stimulation is generally used to help
    control abnormal movement of the body.


UK HealthCare Movement Disorders Clinic
Movement Disorders Clinic

NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

Page last updated: 8/13/2014 1:36:07 PM