Meet Dr. Kim Burchiel

Dr. Kim Burchiel, who leads our program, is one of the world’s leading experts on facial pain diagnosis and treatment.

Dr. Kim Burchiel is among the nation’s leading deep brain stimulation surgeons. In 1991, after studying under the French neurologist and researcher, Dr. Alim-Louis Benabid, who developed the procedure, Dr. Burchiel became the first neurosurgeon in the U.S. to use DBS to treat a Parkinson’s patient.

Since then, Dr. Burchiel has performed DBS more than 1,800 times.

In 2011, he pioneered “asleep” DBS for patients with Parkinson’s and essential tremor. This innovation eliminates the patient's requirement to be awake for responding to the surgeon during DBS lead, or electrode, placement in the brain. Instead, Dr. Burchiel and his team use high-resolution scans taken before and during surgery to place the lead with exceptional precision.

A study at OHSU found unparalleled outcomes. “What our results say is that asleep DBS is as safe as awake, and has fewer complications  — and the accuracy of the electrode placement is the best ever reported," Dr. Burchiel says.

Dr. Burchiel has won global recognition for his work. He and colleagues have conducted extensive research on DBS, publishing at least 50 articles in periodicals such as the Journal of Neurosurgery. His honors include the 2015 Distinguished Service Award from the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, was Honored Guest at the 2015 Congress of Neurological Surgeons meeting, and will be Honored Guest at the American Society of Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery 2016 meeting.

Dr. Burchiel especially enjoys guiding patients through the DBS process. “In the nearly 25 years since I first started performing DBS surgeries for patients with Parkinson’s or essential tremor,” he says, “I’ve seen the remarkable difference that it can make in patients’ lives.”


Dr. Burchiel is an internationally recognized expert on DBS, movement disorders and facial pain, among other areas. He led OHSU’s Department of Neurological Surgery for 27 years and served as president of the Society of Neurological Surgeons. He has published more than 300 peer-reviewed articles and chapters, and his published textbooks include the highly regarded “Surgical Management of Pain.” He and his wife, Debra, have four children and live in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Burchiel’s other interests include running, music, astronomy and mountaineering.

Education and training

  • Residency in neurological surgery, University of Washington
  • Surgical internship, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
  • Medical degree, University of California San Diego School of Medicine


  • Board certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery, 1984
  • Diplomate of the American Board of Pain Medicine, 1993
  • Diplomate of National Board of Medical Examiners, 1977
  • Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, 1987

Selected leadership positions

  • Chairman of the OHSU Department of Neurological Surgery, 1988-2015
  • John Raaf Professor in the OHSU Department of Neurological Surgery
  • President of the Society of Neurological Surgeons, 2012
  • Secretary of the Society of Neurological Surgeons, 2007-12
  • President of the Western Neurosurgical Society, 2007
  • Former chairman of the AANS/CNS Joint Section on Pain
  • President of the Society of University Neurosurgeons, 2005

Selected awards and recognition

  • AANS Distinguished Service Award for 2015 from the American Association of Neurological Surgeons
  • America's Top Doctors, Castle Connolly, since 2002
  • Honored Guest at the 2015 meeting of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons in New Orleans
  • Honored Guest at the 2016 meeting of the American Society for Functional and Stereotactic Neurosurgery
  • 2011 Distinguished Service Award, Society of University Neurosurgeons

Published research