First Live Internet Broadcast of Deep Brain Stimulation Procedure

Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center becomes the first in the world to demonstrate in a live Internet broadcast the implantation of a deep brain stimulator to treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. This also was the first live Webcast of a surgical procedure of any kind in North Carolina.

More than 1,300 viewers logged on for the broadcast, the second-highest viewership ever for a medical webcast, which was produced by a Connecticut-based Internet broadcasting company. The viewership included 384 from North Carolina, 254 from Virginia, 296 from other states and three from foreign countries.

It was part of a growing movement to share medical procedure webcasts for educational purposes; the program carried continuing medical education credit, as did future broadcasts including laryngoplasty for voice disorders, use of the Gamma Knife and localized radiation treatment for liver cancers, among others.

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) continues to be an important tool today in treating Parkinson’s disease and other types of movement disorders. The system works by sending electrical signals to the part of the brain that controls movement. The signals block the abnormal brain messages seen in patients with neurological conditions, helping to reduce arm and hand tremors and other effects.