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500th deep brain stimulation surgery performed in Brisbane

THE world-renowned team of neurologist Professor Peter Silburn and neurosurgeon Associate Professor Terry Coyne have together performed their 500th deep brain stimulation (DBS) operation at UnitingCare Health's St Andrew's War Memorial Hospital in Brisbane.

"This is an extraordinary achievement, and we believe it to be unmatched by any other team in Australia.

Peter and Terry are among the top five DBS specialist teams in the world – what they are doing is creating hope for the many people affected by chronic neurological illnesses," said Professor Helen Chenery,

Director of the Asia-Pacific Centre for Neuromodulation, a joint initiative between St Andrew's War Memorial Hospital and The University of Queensland's Centre for Clinical Research.

Deep Brain Stimulation involves surgically implanting electrodes in a deep part of the brain.

This brain "pacemaker" sends electrical impulses to a targeted area on each side of the brain to block the signals that cause the disabling motor symptoms in conditions such as Parkinson's disease, dystonia and essential tremor.

"Our 500th patient is a 61-year-old woman who runs a cattle station in north-west Queensland.

Making a difference to our patients and their families is what motivates us every day to continue performing DBS, but also to research how DBS can help people with a wide range of neurological conditions," Professor Silburn said.

Neurologists and neurosurgeons have used electrical stimulation since the 1960s.

Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) usually uses two surgically implanted medical devices, similar to cardiac pacemakers, to deliver electrical stimulation to precisely targeted areas on each side of the brain.

Peter Silburn is Professor of Clinical Neuroscience at The University of Queensland and a world expert in the treatment and research of Parkinson's disease and related neurodegenerative disorders and in Deep Brain Stimulation.

Terry Coyne is a St Andrew's based neurosurgeon and Associate Professor at The University of Queensland with specialist skills in brain and spinal surgery who has worked extensively with Professor Silburn.