Cleveland Clinic physicians perform first-ever deep brain stimulation surgery for stroke recovery

On Dec. 19, Cleveland Clinic physicians became the first to perform deep brain stimulation surgery in a patient with the purpose of restoring motor function after a stroke.

A team led by Andre Machado, MD, PhD, performed the six-hour surgery, which involved implanting DBS electrodes into the brain of the patient who was experiencing severe residual hemiparesis after a stroke, even after physical therapy.

After the patient heals from the procedure, providers will turn on the DBS device connected to the electrodes as the patient returns to physical therapy. The team will monitor and evaluate the patient's progress, to see how DBS can augment physical therapy.

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The surgery is the first case in a National Institutes of Health-supported trial.

"If this research succeeds, it is a new hope for patients who have remained paralyzed after a stroke," Dr. Machado said. "It is an opportunity to allow our patients to rehabilitate and gain function and independence. Our knowledge to date shows that deep brain stimulation can help the brain reorganize and adapt beyond what physical therapy alone can do. Our study's goal is to boost rehabilitation outcomes beyond what physical therapy alone could achieve."

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