Deciding to have Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) for PD, ET, or dystonia

January 22, 2013

Choosing to undergo elective deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery is a big deal.

I have walked through the process with hundreds of patients over the past 10 years and see many struggle with the choice to undergo brain surgery, as they seek to improve their quality of life. Many people have adapted to compensate for the movement disorder with creativity and determination.

In spite of this, after the best medical options have been exhausted, DBS is increasingly offered as a viable treatment option.

Keys to making the best decision for you are:

  • Become informed 

  • Explore the option with your healthcare provider (your doctor may wait until you ask or express interest)

  • Consider a referral to a DBS Program to see if you might be a candidate.

Even if you decide not to pursue surgery at this time, finding out that it might be available for you as an option down the line can offer hope for the future when or if intractable movement disorders prevent you from the quality of life you desire.

Ed. note: click here to watch a video of a patient with essential tremor demonstrating his quality of life before and after deep brain stimulation surgery at Swedish.