Northern Nevada Medical Group offers advanced treatment for neurological conditions, including electrical stimulation for movement disorders and epilepsy.
Deep Brain Stimulation
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) involves a surgically implanted device that delivers mild electrical pulses to specific areas of the brain. It has been shown to be effective in treating the shaking, slow movements and stiffness that accompany Parkinson‘s disease, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. DBS was originally developed to treat essential tremor, a rhythmic trembling of the limbs or hands.
For deep brain stimulation, a neurosurgeon uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scanning to find the exact location in the brain to surgically implant an electrode. An implantable pulse generator (IPG) is placed in the chest and connected to the electrode. Electrical pulses are sent from the IPG to the brain, which blocks abnormal electrical signals and alleviates symptoms.
Vagus Nerve Stimulation
Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is a type of therapy for people whose seizures can’t be controlled by medication. It’s conducted via a device about the size of a half dollar that is implanted under the skin in the upper chest. This device sends mild electrical impulses to the brain by way of the vagus nerve, which passes through the neck. The impulses can reduce or terminate the abnormal electrical activity that causes epileptic seizures.
After a surgeon implants the VNS device, a neurologist programs it to go on and off. The idea is to stimulate the brain at regular intervals, usually 30 seconds of stimulation followed by five minutes of no stimulation. Like DBS, VNS is similar to a pacemaker, and once implanted, it provides treatment without the patient knowing the device is operating.