Advances in Deep Brain Stimulation

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Advances in Deep Brain Stimulation Studies

The purpose of deep brain stimulation (DBS), first performed in Europe in the late 1980s, is to control the more severe neurological symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (tremors, slowed movement, difficulty walking, muscle stiffness). The basic concept of DBS, involving the placement of electrodes within parts of the brain most affected by Parkinson’s, remains unchanged. New advances in how the surgery is performed, however, are reducing risks and improving outcomes for patients. Read on to learn more, brought to you by Home Care Assistance of Columbus, OH.

Patients No Longer Have to Remain Awake

The new DBS procedure–developed by Dr. Kim Burchiel, the first surgeon to perform the surgery outside of Europe in 1987–no longer requires the patient to remain awake (under local anesthesia) for the operation. In the traditional DBS procedure, patients are required to stay awake so doctors can use conscious feedback to determine if they have the electrodes placed in the right part of the brain. The new procedure relies on computer imaging and real-time data to achieve correct placement.

Reduced Risk of Complications

With traditional DBS, there is a small risk of hemorrhaging as the electrodes are moved while gauging patient response to find the correct spot within the brain. The advances in brain imaging that make placement more accurate, further reducing the risk of complications during surgery. During the new DBS procedure, CT scanning is performed during the operation and an MRI is done as well to further reduce the need to place the electrodes in multiple positions.

Results of seniors who’ve had the new DBS procedure are encouraging. No hemorrhaging or complications were reported among the first group of 60 seniors who underwent the procedure performed by Dr. Burchiel and his team. Additionally, the placement of the electrodes was more accurate. The only downside is that the new procedure takes longer than the average 4-6 hours required for traditional DBS surgery, although researchers believe that time will decrease as the procedure becomes more widespread.

If you are the primary caregiver for a senior loved one with Parkinson’s and could use a helping hand meeting his or her care needs, turn to Home Care Assistance. Our trusted Columbus Parkinson’s home care for seniors ensures your loved one has the help he or she needs, while you have time to attend to your personal care needs. For more information, please call (614) 481-8888 today.


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