First US surgery carried out with next-gen deep brain stimulation tech

Chloe Kent 19 February 2021 (Last Updated February 19th, 2021 13:20)

Boston Scientific’s fourth-generation Vercise Genus deep brain stimulation (DBS) system has been used in surgery for the first time in the US.

First US surgery carried out with next-gen deep brain stimulation tech
Vercise Genus is developed from a foundation of cochlear implant technology. Credit: Boston Scientific

Boston Scientific’s fourth-generation Vercise Genus deep brain stimulation (DBS) system has been used in surgery for the first time in the US.

The implantable device is being used to help treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit.

The device stimulates a targeted region of the brain through implanted leads, which are powered by a pulse generator that sits under the skin on the chest.

Surgically implantable DBS systems have been used to treat US patients with Parkinson’s for 25 years, but this is the first time Vercise Genus’s latest iteration has been used. DBS intervention is typically only carried out in cases where medication alone has not proven effective in managing Parkinson’s symptoms.

When the system is turned on, it sends a pre-determined program of mild electrical impulses to the brain to control a patient’s symptoms.

Unlike traditional DBS systems that are built from pacemaker technology, the Vercise Genus is developed from a foundation of cochlear implant technology and the precise stimulation of auditory nerves it uses to replicate hearing.

Henry Ford neurosurgeon Jason Schwalb, who carried out the first surgery, said: “With neurodegenerative movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease, the ability to deliver the right dose of stimulation where it is needed can make a remarkable difference in controlling an individual patient’s symptoms.

“This new Deep Brain Stimulation system has the ability to adapt therapy to address fluctuations in symptoms and the progressive nature of the condition, which allows us to control stimulation precisely and minimise unwanted side effects.”

The system is also equipped with Bluetooth technology to allow enhanced communication during programming. This provides physicians and patients with the precise control of stimulation they need to optimise therapy.

Neuromodulation technologies are being optimised for a number of other indications outside of Parkinson’s, such as treating tinnitus and managing mental illness.