AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 29, Number 1, 2020


OHSU study shows better clinical outcomes for deep brain stimulation while patients are asleep

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Deep brain stimulation is a long-established surgical procedure that eases the effects of Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor through pulses from tiny electrodes implanted in the brain. Currently, most surgeons around the world conduct this surgery while the patient is awake.

You read that right: It’s considered standard clinical practice to keep a patient awake for the four to six hours it takes to implant electrodes into specific areas of the brain that control movement. Yet technological improvements in imaging have enabled neurosurgeons at OHSU to accurately map the brain before and during the procedure. This allows them to conduct the surgery while the patient is fast asleep.

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist, or a brain surgeon, to tell you that patients prefer it,” said Kim Burchiel, M.D., professor of neurosurgery in the OHSU School of Medicine.

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