Specialist neurosurgeon performing Deep Brain Stimulation on OCD patient

Deep Brain Stimulation: What You Need to Know

Please note:  The information on this page should not be construed as medical advice, nor should it be used to diagnose or treat any condition. The content on this page is written by recovered OCD sufferers, not by clinicians. Read More

What is Deep Brain Stimulation

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a relatively new surgical procedure used to treat various neurological conditions. This surgery involves the implantation of electrodes into specific areas of the brain. 

These electrodes are then connected to a device that delivers electrical impulses to the brain. This blog post will discuss deep brain stimulation and what you need to know about it!

What does Deep Brain Stimulation treat?

Deep brain stimulation is used to treat many neurological conditions, including but not limited to Parkinson’s, essential tremor, some forms of epilepsy, chronic pain, and Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

The future of brain surgery seems to be in a new era, with deep-brain stimulation being studied for treatment on disorders such as:

Tourette syndrome, Huntington’s disease, and cluster headaches.

How does Deep Brain Stimulation work?

Deep brain stimulation works by delivering electrical impulses to specific brain areas. This helps to normalize the function of these areas. The electrical impulses are delivered through electrodes that are implanted into the brain.

These electrodes are connected to a device placed under the skin on your chest or abdomen. This device is called a stimulator, and it delivers the electrical impulses to the electrodes in your brain.

Who is a candidate for Deep Brain Stimulation?

Not everyone is a candidate for deep brain stimulation. Your doctor will need to perform several tests to determine if you are a good candidate for the surgery. 

Generally, candidates for this surgery have a neurological condition that has not responded to other treatments. For example, those with Parkinson’s disease or essential tremors are not good candidates if their symptoms are well controlled by medication. Similarly, with OCD, if you have a positive response from drugs, DBS is not for you.

What happens during Deep Brain Stimulation Operation?

Your surgeon will make a small incision on your scalp during this procedure. They’ll then drill a hole through the skull and place electrodes into specific areas of the brain. Electrodes are connected to an electrical stimulator placed under the skin on your chest or abdomen. This device delivers electrical impulses to the electrodes for them to work correctly.

During this procedure, you’ll be awake so the surgeon can monitor your brain activity and make sure everything is going well. The doctor may also adjust these settings during surgery to be tailored to your specific needs.

What happens after Deep Brain Stimulation?

After the surgery, you will likely need to stay in the hospital for a few days. During this time, your doctor will monitor your progress and adjust the settings on your stimulator as required. You may experience some side effects after surgery, including headaches or nausea. 

Your doctor will let you know what to expect and how long these side effects should last. You’ll also need regular check-ups with your doctor after surgery so they can monitor the settings on your stimulator, as well as any changes in your symptoms over time.

Possible side effects after the operation

-Headaches

-Nausea

-Dizziness

-Incontinence

-Vision changes

-Slurred speech

-Loss of balance or coordination

What are the risks associated with Deep Brain Stimulation?

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks associated with deep brain stimulation. These include but are not limited to infection, stroke; seizures; and bleeding. It is essential to discuss these risks with your doctor before deciding if this surgery is right for you.

Does Deep Brain Stimulation cure OCD?

Deep brain stimulation is a promising treatment for many neurological conditions. It can help reduce symptoms drastically and improve the quality of life for those who suffer. However, it does not cure the underlying disease.

There is still a lot of research on the long-term effects of deep brain stimulation.

Conclusion

Deep Brain Stimulation is an exciting new procedure for treating many neurological conditions. It can be a great option if you have a neurological disorder that has not responded to other treatments or therapies. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, be sure to discuss it with your doctor. They can help you determine if this surgery is right for you.

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