Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS)

Don’t Let Tremors Control Your Life

Deep brain stimulation may help if you suffer from Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders. It is not a cure, but if recommended by your doctor, may be a good choice to improve your quality of life.

This surgery places a neurostimulator to deliver tiny electrical signals to the parts of your brain that control movement. These new signals will block the others that cause your symptoms. It works with medication to keep the tremors at bay and allow you to focus on better parts of life.

DBS Surgery May Quiet These Symptoms

  • Tremors
  • Stiffness
  • Slow movement
  • Walking problems

Deep Brain Stimulation Can Help With More Than Parkinson’s

  • Essential tremor
  • Dystonia
  • Arm tremors related to multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Tourette syndrome

Prep for Surgery Without a Struggle

After talking with your doctor, there will be a few tasks to take care of. First, you will have a complete physical exam. Your doctor will also have some lab tests for you to complete, including a CT or MRI scan. He or she may also recommend that you see additional physicians or specialists to make sure that deep brain stimulation is the right treatment for you.

While You're Waiting for Surgery Day to Arrive

  • Ask your doctor if you need to stop taking any of your regular medications on the day of or before surgery. This may include pain relief and anti-inflammatory medications.
  • Try to stop smoking – you can ask your doctor for help.
  • You may need to wash your hair with a special shampoo the night before surgery.

Don’t Forget on the Day of Surgery

  • Do not eat or drink anything for 8 to 12 hours before surgery, unless instructed otherwise by your doctor.
  • Take any medications your doctor requires with a small sip of water.
  • Arrive at the hospital on time.

What to Expect Afterward

Many go on to lead a life with fewer or less intense symptoms. Although many other surgical treatments for Parkinson’s can damage nerve cells, deep brain stimulation usually does not do so. Keep in mind, you may still need to take medication afterward, potentially at a smaller dose.

Most people who have DBS surgery spend about three days in the hospital. A few weeks later, you will return to see your doctor so that the stimulator can be turned on and adjusted. This is done without further surgery and is often called “programming.”

Ready to Proceed?

We’d love to be a part of improving your health and happiness. Talk with your medical provider about your options and see if a referral to University of Iowa Health Care is possible.

Medical records can be faxed to 319-356-3949 or your doctor can call 1-319-384-8008 or get in touch with us toll-free at 1-800-322-8442. He or she can also check out our online referral information.

Care Team