Deep Brain Stimulation

Parkinson's Disease, Essential Tremor and Dystonia are all neurological conditions that result in movement disorders. The majority of patients with these disorders can be effectively treated with medications.  However, some patients either don't respond to medication or initially respond to medication that eventually becomes ineffective.  For patients like this, who are medically refractory, deep brain stimulation surgery is a treatment option.

In deep brain stimulation procedures, electrodes are implanted into specific targets in the brain and then connected to a pacemaker device that is implanted underneath the collarbone.  This provides continuous electrical stimulation to the affected areas of the brain resulting in improvement in the symptoms of these movement disorders.

The overwhelming majority of patients who undergo deep brain stimulation surgery experience a very significant improvement in their symptoms and a very significant improvement in quality of life.  A successful deep brain stimulation program requires the cooperation of numerous different medical specialties including neurosurgery, neurology, neuropsychology, radiology, and anesthesiology.  The UNC deep brain stimulation program incorporates all of these specialties into a multidisciplinary team approach.  We discuss and treat every patient individually to meet the specific needs of our patients and to maximize their clinical improvement.

As deep brain stimulation technology improves and as our experience broadens, new disease states are being treated with this technology including psychiatric disorders such as depression and obsessive compulsive disorder.  Our program stays on track with all of these developments in order to provide our patients with the most up-to-date, state-of-the-art surgical techniques and technology.