Deep Brain Stimulation at UCLA in Los Angeles, CA
Deep Brain Stimulation is a brain surgery performed to improve a patient's quality of life. The procedure is not a cure, but it can significantly improve otherwise debilitating symptoms caused by certain neurological disorders.
If you have a movement disorder, such as Parkinson's Disease or Essential Tremor or suffer from a condition like Tourette's Syndrome, your doctor may recommend Deep Brain Stimulation to give you some relief.
On this page
What is deep brain stimulation surgery?
Am I candidate for deep brain stimulation at UCLA?
What happens during deep brain stimulation surgery?
What to expect after deep brain stimulation
Deep brain stimulation risks
The conditions we treat with deep brain stimulation are caused by irregular electrical activity in deep circuits of the brain. The procedure involves surgically implanting electrodes, or wires, in the brain that deliver electrical impulses to change this activity.
This system of electrical impulses has three parts, all of which are under the skin:
The generator is carefully programmed for each patient to deliver electrical impulses to the right targets in their brain. The process is personalized for every patient's unique brain anatomy, individual symptoms and specific disease so that everyone achieves maximum results.
Deep brain stimulation is not a first-line therapy. That means before considering this surgery, patients must have tried medications and other therapies and not responded well. At the UCLA Neuromodulation for Movement Disorders and Pain Program, we offer deep brain stimulation to treat the following:
Deep brain stimulation is an off-label procedure for Tourette's syndrome, cluster headaches and chronic pain. That means it is not yet an FDA-approved treatment for these conditions. Deep brain stimulation may not be right for everyone. Our multidisciplinary team considers the history, needs, and expectations of each patient before recommending surgery.
You may be a candidate for deep brain stimulation if:
Patients are awake under light sedation during the deep brain stimulation surgery for two important reasons. It allows your neurosurgeon to monitor electrical activity in the brain during the procedure and to test to make sure the wires are in the right place. Deep Brain Stimulation surgery is usually performed in two stages:
The generator that controls the electrical impulses in your brain is turned on two weeks after the implantation. Some patients are concerned about being awake during surgery. If you are concerned, we invite you to speak to and connect with prior patients to learn more about the experience. The surgery can be done asleep using our advanced imaging capabilities for patients who do not want to be awake.
Patients considering deep brain stimulation should have realistic expectations for results. The surgery relieves symptoms, but it is not a cure. It can also take up to six months of adjustments after surgery for some patients to achieve optimal results.
Older patients, men and patients with high blood pressure are most at risk for:
Interested in deep brain stimulation at UCLA? Get prepared for your first appointment.