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Memphis Leads the Way in this Life-Changing Neurological Treatment

Memphis has a long-standing reputation for being a leader in the healthcare industry. Not only is Shelby County the 2nd largest orthopedic device manufacturing center in the United States, it’s home to divisional or corporate headquarters for orthopedic and medical device leaders like Medtronic, MicroPort Orthopedics, Smith & Nephew and Wright Medical. And you can’t forget about our award-winning hospitals, such as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Baptist Memorial Hospital, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare and Regional One Health.

Now two healthcare members are leading the way in treating patients with debilitating neurological conditions. Members Baptist Neurosciences and Semmes-Murphey Clinic are using cutting edge technology to treat patients with Parkinson’s disease, dystonia and epilepsy. In February they hosted an MRI-Guided Neurosurgery seminar to teach physicians the basic knowledge of placing deep brain stimulators (DBS).

Patients with epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease are sometimes so debilitated that they cannot care for themselves, drive or even work. However, following the DBS treatments, some patients can return to daily activities, like drinking coffee without spilling, driving a car and even getting back into the workforce.

“DBS is like a cardiac pacemaker, delivering electrical stimulant to a brain instead of a heart. It can be adjusted until the settings are stabilized,” explained Dr. Karl Sillay of Semmes-Murphey. 
Traditionally, patients undergoing this treatment must be awake during the procedure to keep their brains active and moving. The neurosurgeon has a 4 to 6 millimeter size target, roughly the size of a poppy seed, to fit the probe before placing the electrode. However, with the MRI-Guided technology, physicians are able to measure the target area and perform the therapy in real time while the patient is under general anesthesia, reducing patient anxiety and monitoring delivery of drugs into the brain.

Physician instructors and participants traveled from all over the country and even the world to attend the MRI-Guided Neurosurgery Seminar in Memphis, traveling from areas such as Virginia, Ohio, Tennessee, Mississippi, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Georgia, Alabama and Toronto, Canada. Dr. Sillay commended the Memphis health care community for embracing this neuro surgical treatment.

Kim Hallum, Administrator of Neurosciences for Baptist Memorial Health Care added, “We want to establish Memphis as a place for people to come for training in this area.” 

Currently, the only place DBA surgery is done in the Mid-South is Baptist Memphis with Semmes-Murphey physicians. Since 2013, 30 patients have received implants. Baptist and Semmes-Murphey continue to work together to develop research studies using these new techniques to promote advancements in the treatment of patients with these debilitating neurological conditions.

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The latest news from the Greater Memphis Chamber. For more information, contact Director of Communications Christina Meek at (901) 543-3504 ( or Communications Specialist Jenny C. Fish at (901) 543-3558 (