Neurodiagnostic Week 2021: Celebrating SpecialtyCare’s Deep Brain Stimulation Team

SpecialtyCare’s Nicole Young, PhD & Dr. Rezai fine-tuning an implant (Greg Ellis/WVU Photo)

Today we recognize our Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) clinicians. Our PhD neurophysiologists come from academic backgrounds that provide extensive experience in MER and stimulation mapping techniques. Our staff receive additional training in DBS neurophysiology and all aspects of the DBS implant procedure at SpecialtyCare. Thus, our staff bring a wealth of experience to every DBS lead implant case, providing unparalleled guidance and patient care throughout every aspect of the procedure. This focused approach to DBS is unique in our industry and has allowed SpecialtyCare to become the largest provider of DBS services in the country. We cover over 1000 DBS procedures a year at over 80 hospitals, and it is estimated that we help guide the placement of one out of every seven DBS implant cases in the United States. Our team is extremely committed to our patients and we travel heavily to support our customers. Click here to see Nicole Young, PhD highlighted in the Washington Post!

What is DBS?

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a therapy used to treat the symptoms of a number of medically refractory brain disorders including: Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, dystonia, neuropathic pain, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Electrical stimulation is delivered to specific subcortical targets using a permanently implanted lead (electrode) that is connected to a battery called an internal pulse generator (IPG). DBS can generate dramatic improvements in patient symptoms leading to greatly improved quality of life. The success of the therapy depends upon the accurate placement of the DBS lead into subcortical targets that are relatively small in size, difficult to resolve in imaging sequences, and subject to displacement due to pneumocephalus and CSF loss.

Inside the OR: Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery. Click to watch Northwestern Medicine’s video featuring Mark Nolt, PhD

Mark Nolt, PhD & Dr. Rosenow celebrate their achievement of performing 300 cases together

What is DBS Neurophysiology?  

DBS neurophysiology involves intraoperative microelectrode recording (MER) and macrostimulation-mapping performed in awake patients to improve the accuracy of DBS lead placement. MER is used to identify the borders of targeted brain structures and map out their functional organization in high resolution.  Once potential implant locations are identified, macrostimulation-mapping is performed to identify the best implant location, where stimulation generates symptom relief at low stimulation thresholds (1-2 mA) and acceptable side effects at higher thresholds (4+ mA).

Our staff are also involved in advancing the field of neuromodulation. Since 2017 alone, our team has been part of successful DBS implants in over a dozen different subcortical brain regions treating more than 10 brain-related disorders, as well as participating in numerous state-of-the-art scientific research studies.

During Neurodiagnostic Week, SpecialtyCare would like to show appreciation for our DBS team members who provide the highest level of care for these patients with neurodegenerative diseases. See below for our awesome team’s pictures and David Carr, PhD in action at Geisinger Medical. We are incredibly fortunate to have this much expertise on one team! We are honored to have you each as part of our SpecialtyCare DBS team.