What is deep brain stimulation (DBS)?
  • A new brain stimulation procedure approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for chronic and treatment resistant obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
  • A pulse generator, similar to a heart pacemaker and implanted under the chest, sends electrical pulses into the brain.
  • Electrodes implanted in your brain activate regions thought to be associated with your OCD.
What is DBS used for?
  • DBS has been proven as an effective treatment for neurological disorders such as essential tremor and Parkinson’s disease
  • In addition, DBS is being studied as an alternative or added treatment for severe depression and obsessive compulsive disorder when other standardized treatments including:
    • Antidepressant medications,
    • Psychotherapy or
    • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) fail to produce significant improvements.

DBS does not necessarily replace your medications.

How many people have received DBS?
  • More than 55,000 people worldwide have received DBS for a number of neurological conditions.
What is it like to receive DBS?
  • Brain surgery is required to implant the electrodes on both sides of your brain.
  • Chest surgery is required to implant the pulse generator in your chest.
    • The pulse generator is connected to the electrodes in your brain through wires under your skin.
  • Two to three weeks after the surgery:
    • Your doctor will activate the device at his office.
    • You will receive a level of stimulation suitable for your situation and depending on your side effects.
    • You will be able to turn off the pulse generator using a hand-held magnetic device

You will be following up regularly with your doctor to make sure that the device is working properly.

What are the risks of DBS?
  • Like other medical treatments, DBS has risks and side effects associated with the surgery and after the surgery
  • You can ask your doctor about the possibility of these risks
What are the benefits of DBS?
  • DBS may improve your symptoms, although it will be several months before these improvements occur.
Useful links on DBS
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