VCU Health home to one of nation’s busiest deep brain stimulation surgeons

Kathryn Holloway, M.D.
Kathryn Holloway, M.D.

VCU Health neurosurgeon Kathryn Holloway, M.D., was recently ranked the eighth busiest deep brain stimulation surgeon in the nation. The distinction comes from Medtronic, the Minnesota-based medical technology company that provides surgeons with the medical device needed for lead implant surgeries.

The surgery is designed to treat movement disorders in patients with maladies such as Parkinson’s disease. To date, Holloway has performed more than 500 lead implant surgeries and close to 1,000 general deep brain stimulation surgeries. Medtronic tracks the number of orders it receives for the lead implant device, and uses the figure to determine the volume of procedures performed nationally by physicians.  

Holloway was ranked among 334 deep brain stimulation surgeons in the nation. She performs her surgeries at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center and the McGuire VA Medical Center.

Parkinson’s disease, dystonia and essential tremor are the main conditions that dictate the need for lead implant surgery. With these diagnoses, patients experience involuntary movement in their limbs that make performing everyday tasks, such as using the telephone and eating, difficult. After surgery, patients experience a reduction in the tremors, rigidity and slowness of movement that typifies those diseases.

“It is an honor and a pleasure to have patients come to me to help them with these very disabling disorders,” Holloway said.

Holloway has developed innovative methods for performing the surgery, including a frameless surgical technique that is like having GPS for the brain. This method makes the procedure more comfortable for the patient. Neurosurgeons from as far away as New Zealand have come to observe Holloway in the operating room.

“I will continue to do research that advances the lead implant surgery procedure, and I am thrilled to work within a health system that offers this benefit to patients,” Holloway said.

About VCU and VCU Health

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 30,000 students in 233 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Twenty-two of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 11 schools and three colleges. The VCU Health brand represents the VCU health sciences academic programs, the VCU Massey Cancer Center and the VCU Health System, which comprises VCU Medical Center (the only academic medical center in the region), Community Memorial Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, and MCV Physicians. The clinical enterprise includes a collaboration with Sheltering Arms Institute for physical rehabilitation services. For more, please visit and