The neurosurgeons at Torrance Memorial Medical Center treat a variety of neurological disorders using a minimally invasive surgical treatment called deep brain stimulation (DBS). Our affiliation with the neurology team at Cedars Sinai — ranked among the best in the nation for neurology care by U.S. News & World Report — means that our patients have access to some of the nation’s top neurosurgeons and the most advanced surgical treatment options.

What is deep brain stimulation?

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a minimally invasive surgical treatment for neurological conditions including:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Essential tremor
  • Dystonia
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder

During a DBS procedure, your doctor will implant small wires called electrodes in a specific area of your brain. The wires are connected to a device called a neurostimulator that delivers electricity to stimulate your brain.

Is DBS right for me?

Your doctor will let you know if DBS is an option for you. Your doctor may recommend DBS if you meet certain criteria, including:

  • Medications have not worked or are no longer working to control your symptoms.
  • You do not have cognitive problems, such as dementia or trouble with memory.
  • You do not have any other health problems that put you at high risk for complications during or after surgery.

What happens during a DBS surgical procedure?

DBS treatment involves two separate surgical procedures — one procedure to place the wires, and a second procedure to place the neurostimulator.

During the first procedure to place the wires, your surgeon will use imaging guidance to insert the wires in a specific area of your brain. This DBS surgical procedure can be performed while you are asleep, but your surgeon may perform the procedure while you are awake so he or she can perform tests to make sure the wires are in the correct place.

You will need to return to the hospital a few days after the first procedure for a second outpatient procedure to place the neurostimulator. The neurostimulator is a battery pack that is placed under your skin and just below your collarbone. Your neurosurgeon will attach the wires to the neurostimulator. This procedure will be performed while you are under general anesthesia.

What can I expect after a DBS surgical procedure?

You will need to stay in the hospital overnight following your first DBS procedure, but you may be able to go home the same day after your second DBS procedure.

You can start DBS treatment about 3-4 weeks after the system is implanted. Your neurologist will program your device with the settings that are right for you. You may need to have several follow-up visits to adjust the settings until the correct settings are found.