Although deep brain stimulation is generally safe, any type of surgery has the risk of complications. Also, the brain stimulation itself may cause side effects.
Deep brain stimulation involves creating small holes in the skull to implant the electrodes, and surgery to implant the device that contains the batteries under the skin in the chest. Complications of surgery may include:
- Bleeding in the brain
- Breathing problems
- Heart problems
Possible side effects after surgery
Side effects associated with deep brain stimulation may include:
- Hardware complications, such as an eroded lead wire
- Temporary pain and swelling at the implantation site
A few weeks after the surgery, the device will be turned on and the process of finding the best settings for you begins. Some settings may cause side effects, but these often improve with further adjustments of your device.
Possible side effects of stimulation
- Numbness or tingling sensations
- Muscle tightness of the face or arm
- Speech problems
- Balance problems
- Unwanted mood changes, such as mania and depression
Nov. 11, 2015
- Miocinovic S, et al. History, applications, and mechanisms of deep brain stimulation. JAMA Neurology. 2013;70:163.
- Karas PJ, et al. Deep brain stimulation: A mechanistic and clinical update. Neurosurgical Focus. 2013;35:1.
- Brunicardi FC, et al., eds. Neurosurgery. In: Schwartz's Principles of Surgery. 9th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2010. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed Aug. 31, 2015.
- Cleary DR, et al. Deep brain stimulation for psychiatric disorders: Where are we now. Neurosurgical Focus. 2015;38:1.
- Deep brain stimulation for Parkinson's disease. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/deep_brain_stimulation/deep_brain_stimulation.htm. Accessed Sept. 1, 2015.
- Fenoy AJ, et al. Risks of common complications in deep brain stimulation surgery: Management and avoidance. Journal of Neurosurgery. 2014;120:132.
- Tarsy D. Surgical treatment of Parkinson disease. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 28, 2015.
- Venkatraghavan L. Anesthesia for patients having deep brain stimulator implantation. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 28, 2015.
- Timmermann L, et al. Multiple-source current steering in subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation for Parkinson’s disease (the VANTAGE study): A non-randomised, prospective, multicentre, open-label study. The Lancet Neurology. 2015;14:693.
- Krack P, et al. Deep brain stimulation: From neurology to psychiatry? Trends in Neurosciences. 2010;33:474.
- Riggs EA. Allscripts EPSi. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 6, 2015.