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Deep Brain Stimulation

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Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) sends electronic signals to an area in the brain that controls movement and blocks some of the brain’s messages that cause annoying and disabling motor symptoms. It involves placing a pacemaker-like device under the skin in your chest (not in the brain). Very thin wires connect the device to your brain to enable the signals to reach the source of your symptoms.

DBS offers relief to many suffering from motor control difficulties, most commonly seen in patients with Parkinson’s disease. It may calm symptoms almost immediately and offers an increase in the quality of life for many patients. The procedure and treatment may also be used in epilepsy cases where the medication does not control seizures.

Why Choose UHealth?

Highly-trained specialists. The experienced neurosurgeons at UHealth have performed more than 600 of these procedures.

The latest in DBS technology. Our program was the first in the state of Florida to offer DBS systems that have Bluetooth generators and offer more precise stimulation.

Dedicated support groups. Your care doesn’t stop with just your medical procedure. Our team offers a support group for patients and their loved ones who have undergone DBS surgery or are planning to have the surgery.

Questions? We're here to help.

Our appointment specialists are ready to help you find what you need. Contact us today.

Who is a Candidate?


Patients with Parkinson’s disease whose medications don’t seem to work as well as they have in the past, and:

  • Experience periods when medication is not helping enough
  • Experience troubling dyskinesias (involuntary excessive movements)
  • Take frequent doses of dopaminergic drugs (Levodopa, Sinemet*, Stalevo*, Parcopa*) in a typical day
  • Despite having tried several drug combinations, experience any of the following troubling side effects: sleepiness, nausea, hallucinations, confusion/other thinking problems, lightheadedness upon standing, behavioral/personality changes

The procedure and treatment may also be used in epilepsy cases where the medication does not control seizures.


What to Expect


Until recently, the only option for treating many cerebrovascular conditions was brain surgery. The introduction of stent-assisted coiling has allowed patients to avoid surgical procedures, and recover much more quickly.

Implanting the device used in DBS is technically two procedures – one that implants the leads in your brain and the other that implants the neurostimulator under the skin of your chest right below the collarbone. These may be performed on the same day or on separate days.

Your hospital stay will usually be a few days so that all the planning and proper tests can be performed. These may include implant procedure and initial recovery before home care. Your surgical team will include:

  • A neurologist
  • A neurosurgeon specialized in DBS therapy
  • Other healthcare professionals

People who have had the procedure usually describe it as demanding and exhausting rather than painful. Afterwards, you may have some discomfort and soreness that can be managed with pain medication.

Healing

Recovery can take several weeks. Discomfort or pain at the incision sites can be managed with medication. Avoid strenuous activity, moving your arm above shoulder level, and excessively stretching your neck.

You may want to gradually attempt activities that were difficult before your surgery. Talk about this with your doctor first and follow all of your doctor’s instructions.

Programming sessions

You will see the best results after the system has been fine-tuned for your specific symptom control needs. These sessions allow your doctor to adjust the device so that it targets and controls your individual symptoms while minimizing side effects. You will return for follow-up sessions to further adjust the settings.

Periodic adjustments are a routine part of DBS therapy. After the initial programming, people with tremor may feel a brief tingling sensation, and usually experience relief from symptoms almost immediately.

It may take several months to reach maximum effect. Depending on the system and your therapy needs, you may have a controller that will allow you to turn the system on and off, adjust the stimulation, and check the battery.

Accepted Insurances

Note: Health plans that are currently contracted with UHealth are listed below. However, please check with your insurance provider to verify that UHealth is part of your provider network.

  • Aetna WC
  • Aetna Affiliates/Signature Adm (ASA)
  • Aetna Behavioral Health
  • Aetna Elect Choice (EPO)
  • Aetna Florida Healthy Kids
  • Aetna HMO
  • Aetna Medicaid HMO
  • Aetna Medicare HMO
  • Aetna Medicare PPO
  • Aetna POS
  • Aetna PPO
  • Aetna UM Employee HMO 1
  • Aetna UM Employee HMO 2
  • Aetna UM Employee POS HRA
  • Aetna/Coventry Institutes of Excellence (IOE)
  • Amerigroup Florida Healthy Kids
  • Amerigroup Medicaid HMO
  • Argus Vision
  • AvMed Choice
  • AvMed HMO/POS
  • AvMed MDC and JHS Groups
  • AvMed Medicare HMO
  • AXIS
  • BCBS Blue Options Network Blue PPO
  • BCBS BlueCare HealthOptions HMO
  • BCBS BlueChoice PPC/PPO
  • BCBS Miami Dade Blue PPO Limited Benefits Plan
  • BCBS of Florida (All products except "SELECT" Plans)
  • BCBS of Florida (Commercial plans exclude HIX Select)
  • BCBS Traditional PHS/PPO
  • Beacon Health (ValueOption)
  • Beech Street PPO
  • Broward Health Medical Center
  • CarePlus Medicare HMO
  • Catholic Hospice
  • CCP/CMS Title XIX (Medicaid Enrolled in South Florida)
  • CCP/CMS Title XXI (Non Medicaid Enrolled in South Florida)
  • CCP/MMA (Broward County residents)
  • Charlotte County Sheriffs Office PPO
  • Cigna Affiliates
  • Cigna Behavioral Health
  • Cigna Dental HMO/PPO
  • Cigna EPO
  • Cigna HMO
  • Cigna Life Source (Intracorp is part of Cigna Lifesource)
  • Cigna MDCPS Jackson Sr. High
  • Cigna POS
  • Cigna PPO
  • Cigna Shared Administration
  • Clear Health Alliance SNP Medicaid HMO
  • Concordia Behavioral Health
  • CorVel WC
  • Coventry First Health WC
  • Coventry Health Care of Florida (HIP) HMO/POS
  • Coventry Health Care of Florida (HIP) PPO
  • Coventry Health Plan of Florida (Foundation) HMO
  • Coventry Health Plan of Florida (Foundation) POS
  • Coventry National PPO
  • Coventry Summit Medicare HMO
  • Coventry Vista Medicare HMO
  • Coventry First Health PPO
  • Delta Dental PPO
  • DentaQuest (ADI)
  • DIKLA
  • Dimension WC
  • Dimension Plus PPO
  • EHN PPO
  • EQUIAN (Health Systems International)
  • Europe Assistance/Global Corporate Solutions (Care Management Network)
  • eyeQuest
  • FCCI WC
  • Florida Healthcare Plan (Affiliate of BCBSFL)
  • Florida PACE (FPC)
  • Freedom Health Medicaid HMO
  • Freedom Health Medicare HMO
  • Gallagher Bassett WC (MDCPS & FCSRMC)
  • Global Excel Mgt PPO
  • Great West (Cigna) HMO/POS
  • Guardian Life PPO
  • HAA Preferred Partners
  • Health First Health HMO/POS
  • Health First Health Medicare HMO
  • Health First Health PPO
  • Health Net Veterans Choice HMO
  • Heritage Summit Healthcare WC
  • Humana Behavioral Health (LifeSynch)
  • Humana Dental/CompBenefits/OHS
  • Humana EPO
  • Humana HMO
  • Humana Medicaid HMO
  • Humana Medicare HMO
  • Humana National Transplant
  • Humana PPO
  • Humana Premier
  • iCare Health Solutions
  • Interlink Health Services
  • International Kids Fund (IKF)
  • League Medical Concepts Federal Inmates
  • Life Trac
  • Magellan Behavioral Health
  • Magellan Complete Care SNP Medicaid HMO
  • MDAbroad
  • Medica Medicare HMO
  • Medical Development In't (MDI)-Federal Inmates
  • Medicus
  • Metlife Dental PPO
  • MHNet Behavioral Network (MHNet)
  • Molina
  • Molina Market Place
  • Molina Medicaid HMO
  • Molina Medicare HMO
  • Morgan White International
  • MultiPlan PPO
  • Naphcare (Federal Prisoners)
  • National Healthcare Solutions Inc.
  • Neighborhood HealthPlan HMO/POS
  • Neighborhood HealthPlan PPO
  • North Broward Hospital District PPO
  • Olympus Managed Healthcare
  • Optum
  • Positive Healthcare SNP Medicaid HMO
  • Positive Healthcare SNP Medicare HMO
  • Prestige Health Choice Medicaid HMO
  • Prime Health Services WC
  • Quality Health Management
  • Religious Order of Jehovah's Witnesses PPO
  • Rockport Healthcare Group WC
  • Royal Caribbean Cruises PPO
  • Sanus Health Corporation
  • Seasons Hospice
  • Simply Healthcare Medicaid HMO
  • Solstice Dental HMO/PPO
  • Start Healthcare Network
  • Sunshine
  • Sunshine AMBETTER
  • Sunshine Healthy Kids HMO
  • Sunshine Medicaid HMO
  • Sunshine Medicare HMO
  • Tricare South Prime HMO
  • Tricare South Standard PPO
  • United Behavioral Health (UBH)
  • UnitedHealthcare Affiliates
  • UnitedHealthcare Healthy Kids HMO
  • UnitedHealthcare HMO/POS
  • UnitedHealthcare Medicaid HMO
  • UnitedHealthcare Medicare Nursing Home Plan
  • UnitedHealthcare PPO
  • University of Miami Athletic Dept PPO
  • VUMI
  • Wellcare/Staywell Healthy Kids HMO
  • Wellcare/Staywell Medicaid HMO
  • Wexford Health State Inmates
  • Worldwide Managed Care