What Is Brain Stimulation Surgery?


Quick Answer

Brain stimulation surgery is a procedure where a doctor implants electrodes into certain places in the brain to regulate impulses, according to Mayo Clinic. In addition to placing the electrodes, a pacemaker-type device is also put into the chest.

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Doctors use brain stimulation surgery to treat a number of conditions including Parkinson's disease, tremors and dystonia, explains Mayo Clinic. As of 2015, doctors are doing research on brain stimulation surgery as a treatment for epilepsy, Tourette's syndrome, cluster headaches and major depression. Though this surgery is relatively safe, there are risks and side effects that may occur due to this procedure, as the brain is open, and a device is also put into the chest. These risks occur due to the surgery as well as with the stimulation.

During brain stimulation surgery, the doctor bores small holes into the skull to place the electrodes into the brain, states Mayo Clinic. Complications that may occur with surgery include brain bleeding, infection, stroke, nausea and breathing problems. Surgery may be necessary several times in order to replace the batteries. Side effects of the surgery include infection, seizure, insomnia, headache and breathing problems. Side effects of the stimulation include numbness, speech problems, muscle tightness, lightheadedness and unwanted mood changes.

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