What to Expect with Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery?

Who is a candidate for surgery?

At OHSU Brain Institute, DBS is used only for people whose movement disorder symptoms cannot be adequately controlled with medications. DBS is not a cure for essential tremor (ET), or Parkinson’s disease (PD).

Referral to Neurological Surgery

Potential DBS candidates are referred by their primary care doctor, neurologist, or referring neurosurgeon.  OHSU Neurological Surgery schedules new patients within two weeks. 

First Appointment: Neuropsychological Testing

All potential DBS surgical candidates undergo extensive neuropsychological testing. The test results are discussed at the next appointment with the neurosurgeon.

Second Appointment: Developing a Tailored Treatment Plan

Every Tuesday and Thursday, Dr. Burchiel has a clinic for potential surgical patients.  Chart notes, neuropsychological testing results and laboratory results are reviewed along with a consultation to determine the best DBS treatment plan for each individual patient.


Our surgeons perform DBS surgery at OHSU Hospital located on Marquam Hill in Portland, Oregon.  Detailed instructions are provided to patients and their families in advance so that the “day of surgery” flows smoothly.  More information on surgery

Follow-up care

After surgery, patients come back for a routine post-operative check at 30 days.  The purpose of this visit is to ensure healing and to identify any potential problems that may hinder recovery.

The IPG, which is patient controlled by a hand-held magnet-device, is fine-tuned at subsequent office visits. The IPG settings can be calibrated by a neurologist, nurse or trained technician to optimize symptom suppression and control side effects. This can take time (weeks to months) and the device can be programmed in many different ways in conjunction with any necessary medication adjustments to fit individual needs.

Clinic Location

OHSU Center for Health & Healing, 8th Floor
3303 SW Bond Ave.
Portland, OR

Thom's DBS Story

After years of drug treatments, Thom opted for Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery. Learn more