Deep brain stimulation is the main type of surgery used to treat Parkinson’s. Usually, it is most effective at improving motor (movement) symptoms.
A pulse generator (a device like a heart pacemaker) is placed under the skin around the chest or stomach area. It is connected to one or two fine wires that are inserted into specific areas of your brain.
When the pulse generator is switched on, the electrodes deliver high frequency stimulation to the targeted area. This stimulation changes some of the electrical signals in the brain that cause the symptoms of Parkinson’s.
- Deep brain stimulation for Parkinson’s may be an option for people whose symptoms are no longer controlled well by the best available medication for their condition.
- It is not a cure and does not stop Parkinson’s from progressing. But in many cases it has given people with the condition better control of their motor (movement) symptoms including tremor, speed of movements and involuntary movements (dyskinesia).
- Like all types of surgery, there are risks involved with deep brain stimulation. Make sure you have spoken to your specialist and understand what complications there could be before going ahead. Ask them to write anything down that you are unsure about.
“I thought the pulse generator would be turned on and that would be it. But there’s been a lot more fine-tuning along the way. I never knew that before, so that’s been very unexpected.”
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Helpline and local advisers
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Last updated January 2020. We review all our information within 3 years. If you'd like to find out more about how we put our information together, including references and the sources of evidence we use, please contact us at [email protected]