Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS)

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Center for Neurologic Restoration

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Like a pacemaker for the brain, deep brain stimulation (DBS) controls electrical signals in the brain to help control abnormal movements such as tremors and involuntary muscle contractions. A tiny device, implanted in the brain, is connected to a pulse generator beneath the skin of the chest. The patient can adjust the level of stimulation to provide the greatest relief with the fewest symptoms. The treatment does not destroy brain tissue, and the entire system can be removed if an alternative treatment becomes available.

When used in conjunction with medication, DBS is extremely effective. In fact, during their six-month follow-up, 100 percent of Swedish patients treated with DBS reported symptom improvement, increased independence and improved quality of life.

Throughout the care experience, we strive to establish a connection and rapport with our patients. We pride ourselves on our compassionate, patient-focused approach and our ability to treat the whole patient, not just the condition.

Swedish is also one of the few programs approved to use DBS as a treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

What is DBS?

DBS is like a pacemaker for the brain. Instead of controlling the rhythm of your heart, DBS controls your movements.

A tiny wire (electrode) is implanted in the area of the brain that controls abnormal movement. The wire is connected to a pulse generator implanted beneath the skin of the chest. The generator sends mild electrical pulses through the wire to the brain. These pulses modify the brain’s electrical signals to help control abnormal movements, such as tremor.

Swedish movement disorder experts have determined that DBS combined with medication therapy gives many patients the best chance of significantly reducing disease symptoms.

Does DBS work?

During their six-month follow-up, 100% of Swedish's DBS patients report:

  • Symptom improvement
  • Improved quality of life
  • Increased independence

What are the advantages of DBS?

DBS is both adjustable and reversible. New technology allows patients to use a remote control to adjust the level of stimulation needed to provide the greatest symptom relief with the least amount of side effects.

DBS does not destroy brain tissue. in the event an alternative therapy or treatment becomes available in the future, the entire system can be safely removed.

What DBS expertise is available at Swedish?

SNI’s DBS program is a leader in this treatment in Seattle and the Northwest. In fact, it is one of the most active programs on the entire West Coast. It is the only program in the area that offers DBS to patients with cardiac pacemakers.

It also is one of the few approved programs in the U.S. that offers DBS as a treatment for dystonia and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

At Swedish, neurologists who specialize in movement disorders and neurosurgeons with expertise in DBS work together to empower patients who are seeking relief from these disabling abnormal movements.