Deep brain stimulation involves implanting electrodes capable of emitting energy pulses to obstruct abnormal brain activity that causes movement disorder symptoms, explains Cleveland Clinic. The surgical procedure aims to relieve symptoms such as tremors, slow movement and balance difficulty in patients with Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, dystonia or essential tremor.
During deep brain stimulation surgery, a doctor inserts a thin lead consisting of electrode contacts into a particular region in the brain that needs stimulation, states Cleveland Clinic. The lead goes through a tiny hole in the skull and connects to an extension wire that extends to an impulse generator implanted beneath the skin on the chest.
Doctors use advanced brain-mapping technology to locate the specific part of the brain where nerve signals produce movement disorder symptoms, notes Cleveland Clinic. They also use cutting-edge imaging and recording equipment to map the brain's functions and physical structure.
During deep brain stimulation surgery, a patient stays awake, allowing doctors to evaluate his brain functions, according to Cleveland Clinic. However, the insertion of the electrodes into the brain is painless as the human brain is incapable of generating pain signals. Doctors administer a local anesthesia when creating a tiny incision in the skull. After the procedure, patients usually stay in the hospital for up to three days.