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What is Deep Brain Stimulation and how does the device function?

Published Date : June 07, 2017

Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) is a surgical method done for treating a range of disabling neurological symptom – generally the unbearable symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD), like rigidity, tremor, slow movement, stiffness, and problems while walking. Basically, this surgery is performed to improve a patient’s state and life’s quality. Deep brain stimulation comprises of implanting electrodes inside particular zones of the cerebrum. These electrodes generate electrical impulse which has a control of various abnormal pulses. Also, some cells and chemicals inside the cerebrum can be influenced by these electrical impulses. This method does not damage any healthy brain tissue by destroying the nerve cells, instead it obstructs electrical signal from specifically targeted areas in the brain. Presently, this procedure is used for patients who have symptoms that medications have failed to control. DBS makes use of a device called neurostimulator which is battery operated and surgically implanted and is quite similar to that of heart pacemaker and nearly a size of a stopwatch to render electrical stimulation to focused regions of the brain which curb the movement, thereby obstructing the abnormal nerve signals which cause PD and tremor symptoms. Usually, the targeted areas of the brains are subthalamic nucleus, thalamus and a part of the globus pallidus.

Current Market Trends of DBS:

The global market industry of the brain stimulation market is predicted to reach USD 3.5 billion by 2025 owing to increasing number of individuals suffering from Parkinson’s disease and escalated awareness pertaining to neurological disorders. The market industry for DBS is growing rapidly since apart from Parkinson’s disease, it is used for treating several neurological disorders such as epilepsy, dystonia, obsessive compulsive disorder, tourette syndrome and chronic pain. World Health Organization (WHO) states that neurological disorders segment is accountable for 2% of global burden of diseases. Moreover, deep brain stimulation also has greater applications in controlling movement disorders. Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurological disorder after Alzheimer’s disease. But, risk of infection and high cost of devices are few factors which might obstruct the growth of this market in the future.                                                                     

The Deep Brain Stimulation comprises of three elements:

•    Electrode a.k.a. lead – is an insulated, thin wire that is introduced via a tiny opening in the skull and is implanted in the brain. The electrode’s tip is placed inside the targeted area of the brain.
•    Extension – is an insulated wire which is goes from under the skin of the shoulder, neck and head, thereby linking the lead to the neurostimulator.
•    Neurostimulator a.k.a. battery pack – is generally implanted beneath the skin adjacent to the collarbone. In few cases it might be implanted lower under the skin on the stomach or chest.

Potential risks involved with this surgery:

Deep brain stimulation implies making tiny holes in the skull to implant electrodes and a surgery for implanting the device that contains batteries beneath the skin in the abdomen or chest. A few probable complications of this surgery are –

•    Breathing troubles
•    Stroke
•    Brain bleed
•    Nausea
•    Infection
•    Seizures
•    Cardiac troubles

How long does the battery in the stimulator last?

One must crucially understand that the battery that operates the neurostimulator gets exhausted and therefore it is essential to a undergo a small surgical procedure in order to replace the battery every few years. Also, taking control of dystonic symptoms needs a greater power settings and hence non-rechargeable batteries can wear out anywhere between 18 months to 2 years. Nevertheless, rechargeable batteries are available which lasts up to 9 years, however they demand patients to adhere to recharging regularly.

Crystal Market Research published a report on “Deep Brain Stimulation Market by Application - Global Industry Analysis and Forecast to 2025” released and accessible at