What Is DBS Therapy?

Soletra Neurostimulator

Soletra Neurostimulator

Medtronic Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) Therapy for essential tremor has a favourable safety profile and is effective when used for appropriate patients,1 and has been proven to reduce tremors associated with essential tremor.2

How It Works

DBS for essential tremor control is a surgical treatment that has been proven to reduce the severity of the tremor in your arms and hands associated with essential tremor.2 DBS uses a surgically implanted medical device, similar to a cardiac pacemaker, to deliver minute electrical stimulation to precisely targeted areas within the brain.

Stimulation of these areas blocks the signals that cause the disabling motor symptoms of essential tremor. The electrical stimulation can be noninvasively adjusted to maximize treatment benefits. As a result, many individuals achieve greater control over their body movements.

The Medtronic DBS System consists of three implanted components:

  • Lead – A lead consists of four thin coiled insulated wires with four electrodes at the lead tip. The lead is implanted in the brain.
  • Extension – An extension connects to the lead and is threaded under the skin from the head, down the neck and into the upper chest.
  • Neurostimulator – The neurostimulator connects to the extension. This small, sealed device, similar to a cardiac pacemaker, contains a battery and electronics. The neurostimulator is implanted beneath the skin in the chest below the collarbone. Sometimes called a “brain pacemaker,” it produces the electrical pulses needed for stimulation.

These electrical pulses are delivered through the extension and lead to the targeted areas in the brain. The pulses can be adjusted wirelessly to check or change the neurostimulator settings.

Watch DBS in Action

Operating the System

Your surgeon may provide you with a small, handheld patient programmer. This programmer lets you turn the system on and off. However, in most cases, the neurostimulator is always on.


  1. Zesiewicz TA, Elble R, Louis ED, et al. Practice parameter: therapies for essential tremor: report of the Quality Standards Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology. Neurology. 2005;64:2008-2020.
  2. Schuurman PR, Bosch DA, Bossuyt PMM, et al. A comparison of continuous thalamic stimulation and thalamotomy for suppression of severe tremor. N Engl J Med. 2000;342:461-468.

Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.

Last updated: 22 Sep 2010

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