Patient Story - Curtis

Parkinson’s Patient Scores Big With DBS

For 59-year-old Curtis Vogel, the tremors caused by his Parkinson’s disease along with the side effects from the medicines he was taking finally became so unbearable that he looked into deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery.

Today, nearly a year after becoming one of the first patients to undergo Asleep Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) at the Denver DBS Center, Curtis is tremor-free and his medication usage has drastically reduced from 1 ½ pills four times a day to ½ pill three times a day.

“I feel better and am able to function better,” Curtis says. “My tremors are gone, and I barely take any medication, which is a huge perk.”  

Curtis was introduced to the Denver DBS Center’s David VanSickle, MD, PhD, via his neurologist. Curtis’ father, who also has Parkinson’s disease, had undergone DBS several years earlier so Curtis knew he would consider the surgery when his symptoms had progressed to a level he could no longer tolerate. When he was ready, his neurologist introduced him to Dr. VanSickle, founder of the Denver DBS Center.

When his father had DBS surgery, the procedure required patients to be awake through three different surgeries. But Dr. VanSickle is one of the few neurosurgeons in the nation offering the new Asleep DBS, which reduces the procedure from three to two surgeries and allows patients to remain asleep. Curtis became one of the first patients in Colorado to undergo Asleep DBS in February 2013.

 “The fact that Dr. VanSickle told me he would choose Asleep DBS if he were in my situation convinced me to choose that option,” Curtis says.

Asleep DBS also leads to more accurate electrode placement within 1 millimeter of the target as compared to 1-2 millimeters with Awake DBS. Asleep DBS also eliminates the need for a pre-surgery MRI. Nearly 60-70 percent of Denver DBS Center patients choose Asleep DBS, VanSickle says.

Curtis’s two daughters and son helped him through the experience, and today Curtis, who had both knees replaced in July and October, respectively, is back better than ever. He’s staying busy as a loan officer for a mortgage broker in the Denver metro area and is looking forward to getting back to his golf game, something he has not been able to enjoy for the past few years due to his Parkinson’s disease.


The Denver DBS Center is one of only a few facilities in the world to offer both Awake and Asleep deep brain stimulation (DBS) for Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, dystonia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The Denver DBS Center performs more DBS surgeries than any other Colorado DBS center. Exceptional patient care, superior electrode placement—the most vital aspect of DBS surgery—and a commitment to partnering with patients’ neurologists make the Denver DBS Center the top choice in the region. The Denver DBS Center is an affiliation of Neurosurgery One (formerly South Denver Neurosurgery).