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The leads and the stimulator are placed in two separate surgeries. The leads are placed first. It takes three to four hours to place leads in both sides of the brain. The neurosurgeon will numb your scalp before the surgery begins. You will be awake during the operation and free to move your head and limbs. You are given a sedative to make you more relaxed during the procedure.
The frameless stereotactical surgical technique used to implant DBS leads was pioneered at Stanford Health Care by Jaimie Henderson, MD. First, your neurosurgery team will use brain mapping to determine the exact placement for the DBS lead. Next, the neurosurgeon will insert the lead through a small opening in the skull called a burr hole.
Your neurologist will ask you to answer questions and move your fingers or toes during the surgery. These tasks help your neurosurgeon test the leads and make adjustments that minimize your side effects and maximize symptom control. You will spend one night in the hospital after lead placement.
Surgical placement of the neurostimulator
Placing the neurostimulator under the skin in your chest area is an outpatient procedure that takes one to two hours. Sometimes this procedure can take place the same day the leads are implanted.
You will be under general anesthesia when you have this surgery. Your surgeon will implant the neurostimulator under the skin near your collarbone. Then, your surgeon will connect the stimulator to the lead with a wire called an extension. The extension passes under the skin of the scalp, neck, and shoulder.