How Deep Brain Stimulation Works to Control Tremors

How Deep Brain Stimulation Works to Control Tremors

Dr. Andrew Lerman at Gables Neurology provides expert neurological care for adults throughout South Florida. His Miami practice offers effective treatment for Parkinson’sseizuresdementiastroke recovery, and other complex neurological conditions.

Dedicated to providing the information you need to make the best decisions about your health, our Gables Neurology team shares facts about the benefits of deep brain stimulation for tremors.

What is deep brain stimulation?

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) uses low-level electrical pulses to regulate abnormal brain activity leading to hand, voice, and head tremors.

During DBS, small electrodes surgically implanted into specific brain areas send out pulses controlled by a small medical device called a neurostimulator. The pacemaker-type device is programmed to suit your individual needs and is usually placed under the skin of your upper chest.

Also hidden under your skin, a small wire (lead) connects the neurostimulator to the electrodes. The device works continuously, but your neurologist may recommend turning it off overnight, depending on your underlying condition.

Why would I need deep brain stimulation?

Tremors are frequently disabling and a particularly bothersome complication of numerous neurological movement disorders.

Uncontrollable tremors associated with Parkinson’s disease, for instance, can make it difficult to walk, dress, or even lift a glass of water. Medications help control tremors in the early stages of the disease, but often become less effective as your condition advances.

Dr. Lerman may recommend DBS for treatment-resistant tremors related to:

Obsessive-compulsive disorder and epilepsy (seizure disorder) not controlled with traditional therapies may also respond well to DBS. In addition, research is ongoing regarding its effectiveness in treating chronic pain, cluster headaches, and Tourette syndrome.

Is deep brain stimulation safe?

DBS is FDA-cleared and considered a safe, effective treatment when medication, physical therapy, and other conservative remedies fail to control your symptoms.

Dr. Lerman recommends DBS treatment based on your overall health, response to your current treatment, and how tremors and other debilitating symptoms interfere with your quality of life.

What can I expect during and after DBS surgery?

Dr. Lerman discusses the procedure in detail before moving forward with DBS surgery provided through Baptist Health and University of Miami Hospital programs.

Evaluation before the procedure typically includes a physical exam, lab tests, and brain imaging studies such as an MRI or CT scan to calculate the appropriate placement of electrodes.

The neurotransmitter is usually turned on several weeks after the surgery, and your team works carefully with you to find the most appropriate settings. It may take several programming sessions to ensure you’re receiving optimal benefits from DBS.

Schedule an evaluation at Gables Neurology today for more information about DBS surgery or other services we offer by calling our office at 786-655-8010. 

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