Deep Brain Stimulation - how it helps with Parkinson’s Disease

DBS is an advanced surgical procedure used for the treatment of patients with medically uncontrolled Parkinson’s disease. Over the years, it has been successfully used to decelerate the intensity of the tremors, muscle stiffness, impaired gait or other involuntary muscles movements

The principle behind the Deep brain stimulation(DBS)

DBS isn’t aimed to cure Parkinson’s disease because it is an incurable disease. But the DBS treatment is aimed to decrease the associated symptoms. It reduces a patient’s complete dependence on medications and helps achieve reduced levels of symptoms. DBS sends electrical impulses to the brain which overrides the tremor-generating signals in the brain.

The essential parts of DBS setup :

  1. A Pulse Generator
  2. Electrode inside the brain
  3. Extension wires from the electrodes linking to the pulse generator

Surgical introduction of the DBS :

Placement of a pulse generator:

The pulse generator is surgically introduced inside the chest usually under the right collarbone. The suprascapular region is especially used for the positioning of the Internal Pulse generator in obese patients as it is observed that their slack skin in that area rotates the device resulting in fracture of extension wires.

Brain surgery:

High-frequency electrode is planted inside the brain guided by the diagnostic tests like MRI and CT scan. This electrode bears extension wires that run behind the ear and pass down the neck to get connected with the pulse generator thus completing the entire setup. The electrode placement is usually preceded by the placement of the pulse generator. Then the pulse generator is introduced in the chest a few weeks later. Sometimes both the surgeries are initiated the same day.

Activities to avoid post surgery

It takes a few weeks to months to adjust your body to the newly installed DBS system. During the course of this period, avoid any rigorous activities or sports which can initiate complications. It is advisable to consult your neurologist on what activities to introduce post-surgery. Also, get abundant sleep to let your body heal.

Benefits :

  • Studies indicate that DBS helps successfully lessen the dyskinetic movements by around sixty per cent.
  • The stimulus can be controlled using the remote control device, on the basis of the progression of the disease.
  • DBS significantly reduces the number of medications for Parkinson’s patients.

Side effects of DBS:

  • Pain and swelling
  • Feeling of confusion
  • Headaches
  • Seizures
  • Infection post surgery
  • Hardware dislocation

Deep Brain stimulation has a variable success rate. This entails a discussion with an experienced neurosurgeon who can effectively guide you through the procedure and describe its pros and the cons.

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