If you suffer from seizures, tremors or involuntary muscle movements, the functional neurosurgery specialists at Miami Neuroscience Institute have the expertise and advanced equipment to provide life-changing treatment. We have the only team in the region with specific training in functional neurosurgery treatments, including deep brain stimulation and focused ultrasound.

Functional neurosurgery uses procedures that change brain function. While some other types of neurosurgery may focus on relieving nerve pressure or removing a blockage or tumor, the goal of functional neurosurgery is to fix problems that are related to the electrical activity in the brain.

During these procedures, our neurosurgeons use different techniques to change electrical circuits in the brain and relieve symptoms like tremors or seizures. Many of the treatments are minimally invasive and can be done while the patient is awake.

What conditions are treated with functional neurosurgery?

Functional neurosurgery treats movement disorders and neurological conditions that are caused by problems with the brain’s electrical signals. These conditions include:

  • Parkinson’s disease.
  • Essential tremor.
  • Dystonia.
  • Epilepsy.
  • Seizures.

What type of functional neurosurgery treatments are offered at Miami Neuroscience Institute?

Our specialists use functional neurosurgery procedures to change electrical circuits in the brain that may be causing seizures, tremors or involuntary muscle movements. Some of the procedures we use include:

  • Deep brain stimulation, or DBS – During DBS, your surgeon places on the brain an electrode that sends electrical signals to help control tremors, seizures and involuntary movements.
  • Vagus nerve stimulation – This treatment involves placing an electrode on the vagus nerve to help control electrical signals in the brain.
  • Focused ultrasound or HIFU – This treatment uses high frequency ultrasound to target a specific area of the brain that is causing a tremor or movement disorder. The high frequency focused ultrasound, or HIFU, damages the area causing the problem and prevents it from sending electrical signals. Fewer than 20 centers in the country have access to this treatment and Miami Neuroscience Institute is one of them.

We also use interoperative MRIs and CT scans to track brain function during functional neurosurgery. This technology allows us to pinpoint the exact area of the brain causing problems, so we can give more precise treatment and improve patient safety and outcomes. Miami Neuroscience Institute’s interoperative monitoring program is certified by the American Board of Neurophysiology Monitoring (ABNM).

Conditions & Treatments

Learn more about Functional Neurosurgery.
 Our Approach

Our Approach

When you come to Miami Neuroscience Institute for functional neurosurgery, you can expect:

  • A personalized approach to each patient, with a goal of finding the right treatment for your specific condition.
  • Neurologists and neurosurgeons that have been specially trained in functional neurosurgery treatments and techniques.
  • A team that is dedicated to finding a treatment that reduces your symptoms and helps you live a healthy, independent life.
Photo of Pete Cotto
"I'm hoping that this operation, this deep brain stimulation, will make me a father that is proud of his daughter walking down the aisle."

Meet the Team

Our team includes a Board-certified neurologist and neurosurgeon who are specially trained in functional neurosurgery. We also have nurses, surgical assistants and technologists who help care for patients throughout the surgery process.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • During DBS, your surgeon will place a rigid frame around your head to help guide the team to the exact part of the brain that needs to be treated. Once the frame is in place, the team will numb the scalp, make an incision and drill a small hole in the skull. Your surgeon will then insert a small electrode through the skull and place it on the part of the brain that is causing the tremor or seizure. The electrode will have a temporary battery at first, but your team will replace it with a more permanent battery once they can confirm that the electrode is able to treat your symptoms.

  • DBS is typically used for patients who are taking medicine more than five times throughout the day to help control symptoms like tremors or involuntary movements. It is most often used to treat Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor.

    While DBS is not a cure for these conditions, it can help reduce the frequency or intensity of the symptoms.

  • Focused ultrasound, or high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU), starts by using low-dose radiation to stun a part of the brain that is causing neurological symptoms, such as a tremor. If the low-dose beam helps the tremor, the team then turns up the frequency on the radiation beam and destroys the part of the brain causing symptoms. Miami Neuroscience Institute is one of fewer than 20 centers in the country with this treatment technology.

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