Skip Navigation
Search Menu

Print This Page
Share this page: More

What is DBS?

DBS is a FDA-approved neurosurgical procedure where electrodes are implanted in the brain to send mild electrical signals to the area that controls movement. These electrodes are connected to a stimulator (implantable pulse generator) that is implanted under the collar bone, similar to pace maker. The electrical signals generated by DBS alleviate symptoms associated with essential tremor, Parkinson's disease, dystonia or dyskinesias.

Research shows that the success of DBS is dependent on:

  • selecting the right patient, as if it’s not performed on the appropriate patient, it won’t work.
  • Identification of the target in the brain on which to implant the electrodes
  • Experience and expertise of the DBS team

Patient selection

At the Johns Hopkins DBS Center, our team has established a “full day” clinical comprehensive assessment to evaluate possible DBS candidates to determine if surgery will benefit a patient. The evaluation varies slightly depending upon the patient’s movement disorder diagnosis, but it includes:

  • an “on/off” medication assessment, if the patient has Parkinson’s disease
  • neuropsychological and neuropsychiatric evaluations

The assessment may also include:

  • physical therapy
  • occupational therapy review, OR speech, language and swallowing assessment

We will only proceed with DBS surgery once we determine the surgery may help the patient. Learn more our evaluation process and what to expect if you’re found to be a good surgical candidate for DBS at Johns Hopkins,

Target identification

Key to DBS surgery is pinpointing the location for placement of the deep brain stimulator. At Johns Hopkins, our team use microelectrode recording (MER), which was pioneered at our institution. We are committed to advancing new brain imagery approaches.

Experience and expertise

Deep brain stimulation surgery has been conducted at Johns Hopkins for over 15 years, making us one of the leading dedicated DBS centers in the U.S. Our team of neurologists, neurosurgeons, physician assistants and nurses can tap into the expertise offered by other Johns Hopkins specialists including psychologists, psychiatrists and electrophysiologists,

Have Questions?

To speak with some from the DBS Center or make an appointment call 410-502-0133.


Scheduled for Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins?

Watch the patient experience video before you come

Related Videos

Updates in Medical Management and Surgical Options for Parkinson's Disease Seminar
Watch Drs. Anderson and Mari discuss medical management and surgical options for Parkinson’s disease.


Out-of-State and International Patients - Find Out More