Deep Brain Stimulation
DBS Therapy is a treatment for movement symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, including shaking, stiffness, or difficulty moving. DBS Therapy gives you more relief without giving you more medicine.
DBS is approved for movement disorders related to Parkinson’s Disease, Essential Tremor and dystonia. We work in conjunction with a Fellowship trained Movement Disorders Neurologist to determine appropriate patient eligibility. DBS works very well for those patients with Essential Tremor where medications are no longer working well and the tremor is interfering in the patient’s daily activities or hobbies. For Parkinson’s Disease patients, this surgery is considered for patients with significant tremor, slowed movement or dyskinesias on their current medications. If a patient has good control of their PD symptoms on medication (ON time), but then their symptoms come back quickly when the medication wears off (OFF time), then DBS should be seriously considered.
How DBS Works
During DBS Therapy, a small, pacemaker-like device sends electronic signals to an area in the brain that controls movement. These signals block some of the brain messages that cause annoying and disabling motor symptoms.
The device is placed under the skin in the chest (not in the brain). Very thin wires connect the device to your brain to enable the signals to reach the source of your symptoms.
How Deep Brain Stimulation Works
Following the procedure, your doctor adjusts the settings to optimize the therapy for you. Getting the initial settings right for you may take several sessions. Over time, your settings are then adjusted as your symptoms change.
Most people don’t feel the stimulation at all as it reduces their symptoms. Some people may feel a brief tingling when the stimulation is first tuned on.
A few weeks after the procedure, you can go back to your normal daily activities. Always following your doctor’s instructions, you can gradually try activities that had become difficult for you.
The medicines used to treat Parkinson's disease are normally very effective for treating symptoms at first. Over time, many people find that these medicines do not work as well as they are used to, and Parkinson's symptoms are affecting their quality of life. When this happens, their doctors make changes to their therapy. At the time medicines stop working as well, one option that may be right for you is called DBS Therapy.
DBS Therapy for Parkinson's has been approved by the FDA to treat shaking, stiffness, or difficulty moving. DBS Therapy has helped people continue working, care for their families, return to favorite activities, and experience the joy of doing the simplest things in life again.
Clinical evidence has shown that when added to medication DBS:
Provides 5 additional hours of good movement control each day compared to medication alone.
Improves quality of life more than medications alone and makes routine daily activities easier.
Significantly reduces medication use, which may mean fewer medication-related side effects.
As you know, the symptoms of Parkinson's get worse over time. During the course of the disease, there is a period when DBS Therapy can do the most good to help control your symptoms. The right time for DBS is when your body stops responding to medication as well as it used to, but before your medicine stops working completely. If you wait too long, DBS Therapy will not be an option.
So don't think of DBS as something for later, but as something to explore now.
Time to Talk to Your Doctor
If you are seeing signs that your medication is losing effectiveness, refuse to surrender to Parkinson's. Don't just let Parkinson's take time away from you. Ask your doctor or a specialist now if DBS Therapy may be right for you.
If you are at the point when medication alone is still working well for you, ask your doctor about DBS Therapy at your next appointment. Know your options for the road ahead. By not waiting until the last minute, you'll be prepared to make a decision whenever you need to.