Baylor College of Medicine doctors are now using a recently FDA-approved, directional deep brain stimulation system with current steering capabilities to treat movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease at CHI St. Luke’s Health–Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center. Baylor St. Luke’s is one of the first hospitals to treat patients with the new device.

Deep brain stimulation is a surgical procedure that uses electrical stimulation to target areas in the brain that control movement. This process blocks the nerve signals that cause the symptoms found in movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, including tremor, rigidity, stiffness, slowed movement and balance problems.

The new device, the St. Jude Medical Infinity™ Deep Brain Stimulation System, uses a directional lead designed to more precisely steer electrical current to relevant areas of the brain while avoiding areas that may cause side effects. Up to eight independent electrode contacts can be programmed, creating a more customized therapy.

“The current steering made possible by the Infinity system offers a new method to individualize and optimize the benefit from DBS for patients with movement disorders who are candidates for the treatment,” said Dr. Joohi Jimenez-Shahed, assistant professor of neurology and director of the Deep Brain Stimulation Program at the Baylor College of Medicine Neuroscience Institute.

Two procedures are required to fully implant the device over the course of 1 to 2 weeks. The process of fine tuning the stimulator occurs in the clinic and may take several months for patients with Parkinson’s disease.

The new device is controlled in the doctor’s office using a wireless iOS software platform on an iPad mini™ mobile digital device and offers a streamlined programming experience. Patients also can use an iPod Touch mobile device controller to discreetly manage their symptoms.