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Deep brain stimulation (DBS) may help control the symptoms of essential tremor, including rhythmic shaking. Find out about the benefits of DBS therapy and safety considerations. Then you will be prepared for a conversation with your doctor about whether DBS may be right for you.
DBS therapy reduces tremor in one upper extremity, which typically includes one arm and hand.1
Clinical studies have shown that DBS therapy for essential tremor provides improved ability to do everyday activities, less tremor, and less disability (as reported by the patients).1
DBS delivers therapy 24 hours a day — it doesn’t wear off while you sleep. It’s already working the moment you wake up.
Your doctor programs your DBS system to provide the best symptom control for you. As your symptoms change over time, the programming can be changed.
Unlike some surgeries for essential tremor, deep brain stimulation is reversible. The system can be turned off or removed, in most cases, and won’t limit your future treatment options.
Placing the DBS system requires brain surgery, which could have serious and even fatal complications including coma, bleeding inside the brain, stroke, seizures, and infection. Once implanted, the system may become infected, parts may wear through your skin, and the lead and/or extension connector may move. DBS therapy could stop suddenly because of mechanical or electrical problems. Any of these situations may require additional surgery or cause symptoms to return or worsen. Medtronic DBS therapy may cause new or worsening neurological symptoms, including motor and speech, and psychiatric disorders.
In patients receiving DBS therapy, depression, suicidal thoughts, and suicide have been reported.
For complete safety information about DBS therapy, see your doctor.
Medtronic DBS Therapy for Parkinson's Disease and Essential Tremor Clinical Summary, 2015.
Miocinovic S, Somayajula S, Chitnis S, Vitek J. History, Applications, and Mechanisms of Deep Brain Stimulation. JAMA Neurol. 2013;70(2):163-171.