Advantages and Risks of Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) Surgery


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UW Health neurosurgeons in Madison, Wisconsin, perform deep brain stimulation (DBS) for selected patients with Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, tremor and other movement disorders.
Advantages of Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS)
  • Proven as more effective and safer than ablative (during which tissue is removed) surgical procedures
  • Long-term complications are fewer than with traditional surgery because traditional surgery involves destroying small parts of the brain, while DBS does not
  • Stimulator is adjusted to the needs of patient
  • Is reversible, leaving open the option of future alternative surgical approaches

Risks of Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS)


The most serious risk is bleeding into the brain, causing stroke. Fewer than 1 percent of patients experience a stroke. The effects of a stroke can include paralysis, loss of speech, coma, or even death. There is also some chance (10 percent) of less serious complications. These may include infection, malfunction of the stimulator, and movement of the electrode or generator. Any of these problems may require removal of part or all of the deep brain stimulation system.