Frequently Asked Questions

About Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS)

​​​​​​Is DBS Safe and Effective?

More than 75,000 DBS implantations have been performed worldwide during the last decade. Numerous studies have shown that given the right candidate, DBS is an effective long term therapy for some of the most disabling basal ganglia motor disease symptoms including tremor, rigidity and dystonic contractions.

However, DBS is brain surgery and therefore not without risks. Among the most severe of the adverse events are intracerebral hemorrhages, or brain bleeds and infections arising from the implanted hardware, occurring in approximately 3 percent and 5 percent of the cases respectively. DBS can also cause its own side effects, such as dysarthria, or speech difficulties and cognitive issues like disorientation and confusion, both occurring in less than five percent of the cases, and frequently transient.

The advanced training and extensive experience of the DBS team at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) contributes greatly to increased probability of successful outcomes.

Will DBS Work for Everyone?Couple talking

Not all individuals with the specified movement disorders of Parkinson's, Essential Tremor, or Dystonia will benefit from DBS. A careful screening process is undertaken to identify appropriate candidates who will maximally benefit from the DBS treatment.

A formal assessment of potential DBS candidate involves several meetings and evaluation sessions with specialized members of the DBS team, although many occur at one time and in one place.

The candidate will meet with a:

  • Neurosurgeon, who performs the surgeries;
  • surgical movement disorder Neurologist;
  • Clinical Neurophysiologist, who performs the IPG programming;
  • members of the Department of Psychiatry at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, who specialize in cognitive and mood evaluations related to movement disorders;
  • Speech Therapist certified in Lee Silverman Voice Therapy (LVST);
  • Rehabilitation Physician for movement disorders, and
  • Urologist specializing in movement disorder Voiding Dysfunction.

Following the assessment, the team members confer together to decide whether the individual is a suitable candidate for DBS adjunctive therapy.

How Long Will DBS Treatment Take?

Deep Brain Stimulation is an ongoing therapy, and not a single surgical event. Read about the four phases of DBS treatment. Learn More

Why Select the DBS Team at RWJUH?

As part of this comprehensive program, the multidisciplinary team at Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital work together to integrate knowledge from different backgrounds into a single approach, committed to improving the lives of those who come to us for help.

Patient Stories

  • “I’m not sure I could have done it without their encouragement and support,” Lara says. “Whenever I would ask if it was okay to do something like play hockey again, they would tell me to go for it.”

    Read More
  • “I got this miracle shot, and I hope it helps other people like it helped me. I’m blessed, lucky and grateful.”

    Read More
  • "I was in the hospital only two nights and am very pleased with the entire process."

    Read More

Patient Stories

  • Watch Testimonial
  • Watch Testimonial
  • Watch Testimonial