Deep Brain Stimulation

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a type of brain stimulation therapy that was first developed to reduce uncontrollable movements and other problems of Parkinson's disease, dystonia, and essential tremor when symptoms cannot be adequately treated with medications. It is an experimental treatment for some psychiatric and other conditions. DBS takes place in a hospital operating room. It involves the implantation of a pair of electrodes in the brain and their control by a generator implanted in the chest to provide continuous stimulation to a targeted area of the brain. DBS electrical frequency and level is personalized for the individual. The patient's head is numbed with local anesthesia so no pain is felt, and the patient is awake to provide feedback to the surgeon. The head is shaved and attached to a frame to keep it from moving during surgery. Using MRI and CT scans as a guide, the surgeon drills two holes in the skull and places electrodes into the brain on each side of a specific area associated with the diagnosis. Wires from the electrodes are guided under the skin to the chest, where they are attached to small, battery-powered generators. The procedure carries a small risk of infection or bleeding.




UAB is one of the leading and largest deep brain stimulation (DBS) centers in the nation, performing about 100 DBS treatments annually. UAB was an early pioneer in DBS, and its physicians have a long and successful track record with the treatment. UAB neurologists have repeatedly been named among the top doctors in the United States. Supporting these physicians is a team of researchers who work in numerous areas, from basic science to clinical work with patients. Through national clinical trials and UAB’s own research, new therapies often are available to patients years before they hit the market.






UAB is an active participant in research and clinical trials. We encourage you to speak to your physician about research and clinical trial options and browse the link below for more information.

View Clinical Trials