Cutaneous Electrosurgery in a Patient with a Deep Brain Stimulator

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Deep brain stimulators are implantable devices with electrical activity used to treat certain movement disorders such as essential tremor and Parkinson’s disease. Similar to implantable cardiac devices, use of electrosurgery on patients with these devices may produce adverse effects.

Case report.

We describe the effects of electrosurgery on a patient with essential tremor and an implantable deep brain stimulator who required Mohs micrographic surgery to excise a basal cell carcinoma.

Case report.

The patient experienced immediate lancinating “electrical shock” using electrosurgery in the monopolar mode. The patient experienced no discomfort when a bipolar electrosurgical device was used or when his deep brain stimulator was “turned off.” Appropriate positioning of the dispersive plate also reduced adverse effects.


Dermatologic surgeons should be aware of patients with devices implanted in the CNS with electrical activity and proceed with caution when using electrosurgery. Different approaches can be utilized to help reduce adverse effects.

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