Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Department of Neurology

Deep Brain Stimulation
Activa® Therapy

AKA “Brain Pacemaker”
FDA Approved for Essential Tremor (1997), Parkinson’s disease (2002), and Dystonia (2003)

About Activa® DBS

Activa® Therapy (also called deep brain stimulation or a brain pacemaker) is a surgical treatment that has been proven to reduce some of the symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease. In one major study, Activa DBS was shown to increase periods of good mobility (no symptoms or involuntary excessive movements) from 27% to 74% of a patient's waking day. In another study, Activa DBS maintained motor symptom improvements even after five years.

Activa® DBS enables people with Parkinson's disease (PD) to have more control over their movements.
The symptoms that Activa DBS has been shown to reduce include:

  • Stiffness
  • Shaking (Tremor)
  • Slowness
  • Abnormal, involuntary movements called dyskinesia
  • Clinical studies show that Activa Therapy increases “On Time” (periods of good motor function and symptom relief) by an average of 6 hours per day.


Parkinson’s - Approximately 1 million people in the U.S. are affected (up to 11% of the elderly). 
10-20% are believed to be candidates for Activa Therapy.
Essential Tremor - Approximately 2.5 million people are affected in the U.S.  E.T. is the most common movement disorder affecting 1-4% of the population (up to 20% of the elderly). 
5-10% are believed to be candidates for Activa Therapy.


At the Methodist Neurological Institute Deep Brain Stimulator is implanted in the operating room. Neurosurgeon would place two small electrodes directly into the patient’s brain in the targeted area where the movement disorder originates, using sound to locate the precise location. The electrodes are attached to a neuro-stimulator the size of a heart pacemaker. The device can be turned on or off. A small electric pulse stimulates that precise part of the brain, immediately stopping the tremor, abnormal movements or rigidity.


Neurostimulator: A pacemaker-like device that contains a battery and microelectronic circuitry for controlled electrical pulse generation. The neurostimulator is implanted subcutaneously near the clavicle, and generates electrical signals that are delivered by the extension and lead(s) to the targeted structures deep within the brain.

DBS™ Lead:  Four thin insulated, coiled wires bundled within polyurethane insulation. Each wire ends in a 1.5 mm electrode, resulting in four spaced electrodes at the tip of the lead. The DBS Lead delivers stimulation using either one electrode or a combination of electrodes.

Extension:  An insulated wire that runs subcutaneously along the head, neck, and shoulder to connect the lead to the implanted neurostimulator.

Follow-up care

Patients aren’t left on their own after surgery. Our Movement Disorder Specialist works with patients in subsequent appointments to adjust the pacemaker to ensure it’s working optimally. As the symptoms of the disease progress, the brain pacemaker can be reprogrammed to provide continuing benefits. Also deep brain stimulation is reversible and adjustable. If a cure is found for Parkinson’s disease, this device can be removed.

Call for a physician referral today!

To schedule an appointment with one of neurosciences specialists and find out if the brain pacemaker will help you, contact Methodist Neurological Institute at 713-441-3337. A nurse specialist will immediately assist you.

Parkinson's and Movement Disorders Clinic
6560 Fannin, Suite 802
Houston, TX 77030

Dr Ron Tintner - line (713)441-5611
Dr Stanley Fisher - line (713)441-3337
Fax: (713)790-2004