Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) for Movement Disorders

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is DBS Safe and Effective?

Over 75,000 DBS implantations have been performed world wide during the last decade.

Numerous studies have shown that given the right candidate, DBS is an effective long term therapy for some of the most disabling basal ganglia motor disease symptoms including tremor, rigidity and dystonic contractions.

However, DBS is brain surgery and therefore not without risks. Among the most severe of the adverse events are intracerebral hemorrhages, or brain bleeds and infections arising from the implanted hardware, occurring in approximately 3 percent and 5 percent of the cases respectively. DBS can also cause its own side effects, such as dysarthria, or speech difficulties and cognitive issues like disorientation and confusion, both occurring in less than five percent of the cases, and frequently transient.

The advanced training and extensive experience of the DBS team at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital contributes greatly to increased probability of successful outcomes.

Questions Related to Deep Brain StimulationWill DBS Work for Everyone?

Not all individuals with the specified movement disorders of Parkinson's, Essential Tremor, or Dystonia will benefit from DBS. A careful screening process is undertaken to identify appropriate candidates who will maximally benefit from the DBS treatment.

A formal assessment of potential DBS candidate involves several meetings and evaluation sessions with specialized members of the DBS team, although many of these occur at one time and in one place.

The candidate will meet with the neurosurgeon, who performs the surgeries; our surgical movement disorder neurologist; the clinical neurophysiologist, who performs the IPG programming; members from the Department of Psychiatry at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, who specialize in cognitive and mood evaluations related to movement disorders; a speech therapist certified in Lee Silverman Voice Therapy (LVST); Rehabilitation Physician for movement disorders, and an Urologist specializing in movement disorder Voiding Dysfunction.

Following the assessment the team members confer together to decide whether the individual is a suitable candidate for DBS adjunctive therapy.

How Long will DBS Treatment Take?

Deep Brain Stimulation is an ongoing therapy, and not a single surgical event. Click here for details about the four phases of DBS treatment.

Why select the DBS Team at Robert Wood Johnson?

As part of this comprehensive program, the multidisciplinary team at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital work together to integrate knowledge from different backgrounds into a single approach, commited to improving the lives of those who come to us for help. Click here for a full overview of the Deep Brain Stimulation team.