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What is deep brain stimulation?

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Deep brain stimulation (or DBS) is a variation of an old surgery that may be used to treat tremors in people with conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson's disease, and essential tremor. In the 1960s, surgery was used to destroy a small area deep in the brain called the thalamus (a procedure called thalamotomy) or another part of the brain called the globus pallidus (a procedure known as pallidotomy).

These surgeries are still done today -- though less frequently because of the availability of deep brain stimulation. These surgeries carry significant risks: both thalamotomy and pallidotomy require purposeful destruction of the brain. If the surgeon is off by even a fraction of an inch, the surgery may not be effective and severe complications such as paralysis, loss of vision, or loss of speech can result.

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Are there risks associated with deep brain stimulation?

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