DBS is a relatively new procedure that utilizes an implantable electrode to alter the activity of brain circuitry.
The procedure is FDA approved for Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, dystonia and OCD, and currently utilized for patients who have not responded to standard medical or behavioral therapy, and who have no cognitive difficulties or “minimal” cognitive (thinking issues) dysfunction may be appropriate candidates.
There are two essential components to the hardware involved in DBS, the implantable electrodes and the programmable pulse generator. The DBS electrode is implanted into a specific target within the brain and the pulse generator, or neurostimulator, is implanted under the skin just below the collar bone (or in the abdomen for women); an extension cable passes under the skin and connects the electrode to the neurostimulator. The DBS electrode has four contact points, the sites through which electricity is delivered. Active contacts can be selected by computer and multiple settings can be adjusted for individual patient needs. The settings can be adjusted for different pulse widths (how long each pulse of stimulation lasts), frequencies (how many pulses are delivered each second), and amplitudes of stimulation (how much voltage is delivered).