Objective: To evaluate the incidence of surgical and hardware-associated complications of deep brain stimulation (DBS) for a range of movement disorders. Methods: The study design is a retrospective analysis and review of surgical and hardware complications of DBS performed by a single surgeon from 1999 to 2009. A total of 153 cases of DBS (298 electrodes) for various movement disorders and a minimum follow-up of 1 year have been included. Two patients could not be implanted. A further 54 patients who underwent change of the implantable pulse generator (IPG) have been included for analysis of hardware-related complications. Results: The mean follow-up was 64 ± 36.15 (range = 12–129) months for the DBS group. Twenty-four (15.6%) patients developed complications. Confusion occurred in 3.9%, vasovagal attack in 1.9%, lead migration/misplaced lead in 2.5%, erosion and infection in 4.5% and IPG malfunction occurred in 1.4% of the patients. When calculated with respect to the number of electrodes and IPG replacements, the complication rate was lower (11.9%). Three patients had their system explanted, two of them being patients with dystonia who had inadvertently damaged their operative site. Conclusion: DBS surgery is a relatively safe surgery, with most of the complications being minor, without long-term morbidity. The complication rate in elderly (age ≧65 years) is comparable to that in younger patients. However, confusion is more frequent in this age group, and patients and relatives can be prepared to accept this as a transient morbidity.
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