What is Deep Brain Stimulation

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a surgical procedure that can treat patients with symptoms of movement or seizure disorders, including conditions such as essential tremor, Parkinson's disease and epilepsy.

Deep brain stimulators

DBS uses a surgically implanted, battery-operated medical device called a neurostimulator – similar to a heart pacemaker and approximately the size of a stopwatch – to deliver electrical stimulation to targeted areas in the brain that control movement, blocking the abnormal nerve signals that cause tremor and Parkinson symptoms.

How does it work?

The DBS system consists of three components: the lead, the extension, and the neurostimulator. The lead (also called an electrode) is a thin, insulated wire and is inserted through a small opening in the skull and implanted in the brain. The tip of the electrode is positioned within the targeted area of the brain. Implanting these devices takes a great deal of preparation and planning but very little surgery. The surgery involves just a few small incisions and as a result, people tend to heal from it very well.

Will it work for me?

This is largely a personal decision. A typical candidate is one whose symptoms are worsening and require increased medication, either in terms of dose, frequency or the number of medications taken. Our guidance is typically that the risk of doing something ought to be less than doing nothing. For most patients, they know when the time is right for them and proceed with confidence. These are the patients who have outstanding results.

To find out if deep brain stimulation is right for you, please join us at our monthly lunch and learn from noon to 1 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month. Lunch is provided. This is a free event, but registration is required and limited. To register, please call  717-531-2085 or email [email protected].

A treatment called deep brain stimulation, or DBS, has been used for more than a decade at Penn State Hershey to help patients with a range of disorders to control their muscular symptoms. In this story, we meet two brothers who share similar diagnoses – and who both underwent DBS with hopes of getting their lives back.

James McInerney, MD discusses deep brain stimulation as a treatment for disabling neurological disorders.

Deep brain stimulation lunch and learn

A program to educate patients and families about the benefits and risks of deep brain stimulation (DBS) therapy for treatment of neurological conditions including essential tremor, Parkinson's disease and dystonia. James McInerney, MD and Sol De Jesus, MD, co-directors of the Penn State Deep Brain Stimulation program, will be available to answer questions.

Sessions are held the second Thursday of each month. Lunch is provided.

This is a free monthly event, but registration is required and limited. To register, please call 717-531-2085 or email [email protected].

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