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Deep brain stimulation for Parkinson’s patients (video)

By The Health News Team | April 17, 2024

An advanced neurosurgical treatment called Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) for patients with Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor and other movement disorders is offered by Sharp Grossmont Hospital. DBS can significantly improve a patient's quality of life by reducing symptoms, such as tremor, rigidity and slow movement, and decreasing the amount of medication they must take.

DBS uses electrodes placed in the areas of the brain responsible for the body’s movement. These electrodes are controlled by a generator — similar to a pacemaker — placed inside the chest. The electrodes produce electrical impulses that override the brain’s abnormal impulses to help control specific symptoms. Patients are fully asleep during the surgery.

“With Parkinson’s, the ideal candidate is someone who has seen improvement with medication; but over time, they’ve seen the side effects become too severe when they’re medicated and also when that medication has worn off,” says Dr. Vamsi Chavakula, a neurosurgeon affiliated with Sharp Grossmont Hospital, Sharp Memorial Hospital and Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center. “The goal of DBS is to avoid those waves and instead provide a constant source of therapy.”

With DBS, a patient may see results shortly after the initial implanting and programming of the device. Overall, it usually takes three to 12 months to get the DBS device settings exactly where they are most effective as the brain adapts to the stimulation, and as medication is adjusted. Patients are scheduled for programming visits that take place frequently throughout the first six months. After that, visits typically occur twice a year.

The DBS program includes a comprehensive evaluation after a person is referred by their primary care physician or neurologist. If surgery is recommended, post-procedure physical therapy helps individuals continue to improve their quality of life.

Watch the video above to learn more about deep brain stimulation.

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