Deep brain stimulation (DBS) for the treatment of neurologic diseases has markedly increased in popularity over the past 15 years. This review primarily focuses on movement disorder applications and efficacy of DBS, but also briefly reviews other promising new and old uses of DBS.
A multidisciplinary team consisting of a movement disorders neurologist, a functional neurosurgeon, and a neuropsychologist optimally selects patients for DBS. Patients must be significantly disabled despite optimal medical therapy and be cognitively healthy without significant psychiatric disorders. Although this surgery is elective, it should not be withheld until the patient suffers marked loss of quality of life. Patients must have support from caregivers and postoperatively multiple DBS programming visits may be required. DBS of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) and the globus pallidus pars interna (GPi) significantly improves motor performance, activities of daily living, and quality of life in advanced Parkinson disease. In addition, STN DBS allows for marked reductions of antiparkinson medication. Stimulation of the ventralis intermedius nucleus of the thalamus is an effective treatment for essential tremor with sustained long-term effects. The GPi may be the preferred site of stimulation for dystonia with movement scores typically improved by 75% in patients with primary dystonia.
DBS is an effective surgical treatment for movement disorders with sustained long-term benefits. Further research is ongoing to better understand the mechanism of DBS, refine the hardware to improve efficacy and reduce adverse effects, and identify additional applications and new anatomic targets.
From the *College of Medicine, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont; †Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center, Denver, Colorado; and ‡No academic institutional affiliation.
Reprints: Rajeev Kumar, MD, FRCPC, 2424 W. Holcombe Blvd. Suite 204, Houston, TX 77030. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.