• Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS)

  • Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a minimally invasive procedure that has been proven effective for disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, dystonia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Such symptoms may be tremor, rigidity, masked face (loss of facial expression), slowed movement, and shuffling gait.

    Deep brain stimulation has helped more than 100,000 patients take back their lives.

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    DBS involves implanting an electrode in the patient’s brain, which is connected to a neurostimulator (battery pack), not unlike a pacemaker. The battery pack is implanted under the skin in the chest near the collarbone. Impulses from the neurostimulator interfere with and block the electrical signals that trigger motion disorders. Most patients see immediate benefits from DBS surgery. While DBS is not a cure for Parkinson’s disease, it can dramatically improve quality of life, allowing patients to maintain their independence, participate in everyday activities and return to work or continue working.

    Two types of procedure:

    Typically DBS was given while the patient was awake, but recent advancements in technology allow the patient to be asleep, reducing the number of surgeries typically needed. Dr. David VanSickle of the Denver DBS Center, South Denver Neurosurgery and leading expert on DBS at Littleton Adventist Hospital, is one of a handful of surgeons across the country, and the only surgeon in Colorado, to offer this breakthrough procedure.

    Using a new type of portable CT machine, called the CereTom, Dr. VanSickle is able to cut operating time in half compared to awake DBS. He obtains precise images of the brain during the surgery. Prior to this, the procedure required separate surgeries to place markers in the head, implant the generator, and connect the batteries. The new procedure eliminates the first surgery with the need for patient feedback throughout the surgery.

    Backed by studies

    • DBS has been FDA approved since 2002 and is backed by well-designed randomized controlled studies, the gold standard in medical research.
    • The procedure has been shown to be a superior treatment to medications alone.  
    • DBS has been used in more than 100,000 Parkinson’s patients since 1995, with 69% of patients showing a reduction in tremor.
    • New findings suggest that DBS not only improves the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease but may also increase the patient’s lifespan.

    Additional Information

    To learn more about this minimally invasive procedure, call 720-528-0823 or visit Denver DBS Center, South Denver Neurosurgery.

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