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Deep Brain Stimulation
Deep Brain Stimulation system
The Deep Brain Stimulation (or DBS) system is a set of equipment that allows surgeons to send particular electrical pulses to your brain that prevent abnormal nerve signals from reaching your brain. It consists of the lead, extension, and Implantable Pulse Generator (IPG)(NINDS.NIH.gov). The lead (aka electrode) is a small insulated wire inserted through the skull and implanted in the brain, the tip of which located in the specific offending area. The extension is the wire slid through the head, neck, and shoulder, to connect the lead to the IPG. The IPG is the component that generates the electrical pulse to inhibit abnormal brain signals, as well as regulating the amount of stimulation provided (mayoclinic.org, DBS definition). It's then fed through the other components to the brain site.
Currently this system is used for treating Parkinson's disease, as it blocks the abnormal pulses that cause the primary symptoms of Parkinson's such as tremors, rigidity, and posture failure.
Inherent surgery risks: Hemorrhage, stroke, infection, respiratory problems, nausea, heart problems, and scarring.
Post-surgery side effects include: Seizure, infection, headache, insomnia, memory problems, and temporary pain/swelling at implant site.
Side effects of DBS stimulation include: numbness/tingling sensations, muscle tightness in face/arm, speech problems, balance problems, lightheadedness, and irregular mood swings (mania, depression) (mayoclinic.org, DBS risks).
WebMD DBS Resource
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