Deep Brain Stimulation: A Closer Look at Its Benefits and Risks

Have you ever heard of deep brain stimulation (DBS)? It is a neurosurgical procedure that has gained attention in recent years for its potential to treat various neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and others. But, what exactly is deep brain stimulation and how does it work? In this post, we’ll take a closer look at its benefits and risks.

What is Deep Brain Stimulation?

Deep brain stimulation is a surgical procedure that involves implanting electrodes into specific regions of the brain, which are then connected to a device, similar to a pacemaker, that delivers electrical signals to the brain. These electrical signals stimulate the targeted areas of the brain and can help alleviate the symptoms associated with various neurological disorders.

The procedure involves several steps, including:

  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or CT (computed tomography) scans to locate the target areas of the brain
  • Implanting electrodes into the brain
  • Connecting the electrodes to a device, which is then implanted under the skin in the chest area
  • Programming the device to deliver the appropriate electrical signals

What Disorders Can Deep Brain Stimulation Treat?

Deep brain stimulation has been shown to be effective in treating several neurological disorders, including:

Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects the dopamine-producing neurons in the brain. The loss of these neurons can lead to symptoms such as tremors, stiffness, and difficulty with movement. Deep brain stimulation can help alleviate these symptoms by stimulating specific regions of the brain involved in movement.


Deep brain stimulation is occasionally used to treat depression when other treatments fail. The electrodes are implanted in the brain’s reward center and release small bursts of electricity, which can improve mood.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

OCD is a mental health disorder characterized by intrusive and obsessive thoughts that cause anxiety and repetitive behaviors that are aimed at reducing this anxiety. DBS for OCD is a procedure that involves implanting electrodes into the brain and stimulating them to reduce OCD symptoms.

What is the Success Rate of Deep Brain Stimulation?

The success rate of DBS varies depending on the disorder being treated, the patient’s age and overall health, and whether the patient is a good candidate for the procedure. However, clinical trials have shown that DBS can be effective in treating Parkinson’s disease, with up to 60% of patients experiencing significant improvement in their symptoms.

The success rate for OCD is slightly lower, with approximately 30-40% of patients experiencing a reduction in symptoms following DBS.

Who is a Good Candidate for Deep Brain Stimulation?

Not everyone is a good candidate for deep brain stimulation. Generally, patients who have tried other treatments such as medication or therapy without success may be considered for the procedure. A candidate for DBS must also meet certain criteria such as:

  • Having a confirmed diagnosis of the disorder being treated
  • Being in good physical and mental health
  • Being able to undergo the surgical procedure and follow-up care
  • Being willing to participate in ongoing programming and adjustment of the DBS device

Who is Not a Good Candidate for Deep Brain Stimulation?

Patients with certain medical conditions, such as bleeding disorders or active infections, may not be good candidates for deep brain stimulation. Additionally, patients who are not able to tolerate the effects of the medication required for the procedure may not be good candidates. Patients with certain types of brain tumors or other brain abnormalities may also be excluded.

What Does Deep Brain Stimulation Feel Like?

Patients generally do not feel any pain during the procedure as they are under general anesthesia. However, they may feel some discomfort and numbness in the area where the device is implanted afterward. Once the device is turned on and programmed, patients may feel a sensation of tingling or warmth in the area of the body that is being treated.

How Long Does Deep Brain Stimulation Last?

Deep brain stimulation is a long-term treatment that requires ongoing programming and adjustment of the device. The battery life of the device varies depending on the individual and the device used, but the battery typically lasts between three and five years. The device can be replaced when the battery runs out.

Deep Brain Stimulation Patient Reviews

There are many patient reviews and testimonials available online that discuss the effects of DBS. Patients with Parkinson’s disease have reported significant improvements in their quality of life and reductions in their symptoms. Patients with OCD have also reported significant reductions in their symptoms and improved quality of life.

Deep Brain Stimulation Cost

The cost of deep brain stimulation varies depending on several factors, including the disorder being treated, the location of the facility performing the procedure, and the insurance coverage of the patient. The cost of the procedure can range from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Deep Brain Stimulation Wiki

If you would like to learn more about deep brain stimulation, we recommend visiting the deep brain stimulation wiki page. It provides detailed information about the procedure, including the history of the procedure, the devices used, and the potential risks and benefits.


Deep brain stimulation is a promising treatment option for many neurological disorders, but it is important to carefully consider the risks and benefits before undergoing the procedure. As with any surgical procedure, there are potential risks and complications, and it is important to discuss these with your doctor before deciding if DBS is right for you.