Deep Brain Stimulation Therapy

Tremors, stiffness, slowed movement, walking problems: The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease can be debilitating and can worsen as the illness progresses. A degenerative neurological movement disorder, Parkinson's disease affects more than 1.5 million Americans, with an estimated 60,000 new cases diagnosed annually in the U.S.

Oral medication is the first line of defense in managing Parkinson’s progressive symptoms. But for patients who don’t get relief from medication or who struggle with side effects, there is a surgical option: deep brain stimulation (DBS) therapy.

What is DBS Therapy?

Deep brain stimulation uses a surgically implanted medical device, similar to a cardiac pacemaker, to deliver electrical stimulation to targeted areas of the brain, blocking the signals that cause the most disabling symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease (PD). The stimulation can be programmed and adjusted by a clinician to maximize treatment benefits.

Patients who choose DBS can experience lasting improvement in their PD symptoms, making it easier for them to perform daily living tasks (bathing, dressing, writing, drinking from a glass, etc.) and even allowing them to return to the activities they enjoy, improving their quality of their life. DBS is also proven to reduce the amount of medication some patients require for Parkinson’s treatment.


The only hospital in its area to offer deep brain stimulation, Sarasota Memorial Hospital uses the latest research, technology and state-of-the-art equipment to treat both Parkinson’s and essential tremor.

Sarasota Memorial Medical Director of Advanced Neurosurgery Kenneth Vives, MD, oversees the DBS program at SMH. With more than a decade of experience in deep brain stimulation, Dr. Vives leads a multidisciplinary team of specialists in the surgical treatment of Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor.

Considering DBS?

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, talk with a neurologist or neurosurgeon who specializes in treating Parkinson’s and essential tremor about whether DBS is an appropriate treatment. For referrals and more information, please call SMH’s HealthLine at 941-917-7777.