Parkinson’s Disease is a neuro-degenerative disorder of the motor functions which occurs commonly in the elderly. While there is yet no cure for it, effective treatment options are available to lead life back to as much normalcy as possible. Parkinson’s Disease occurs when the ability of the brain to produce dopamine reduces, which is responsible for coordinating millions of nerve and muscle cells involved in movement.

For the initial stages, medicines and oral treatment methods work well. But as the disease progresses, the effectiveness of medicine in treating symptoms deteriorates. At that point, other treatment options are available too.

Deep Brain Stimulation

One of the most efficient alternatives to medicines is Deep Brain Stimulation therapy. It involves a pacemaker-like device installed inside the skin near the collarbone area, attached to nodes that are connected with the electrodes implanted in the brain. They create electrical impulses over regular cycles to specific targeted areas that block motor function reflexes. This helps cover the lack of dopamine in brain leading to less intense and fewer symptoms.

How Does DBS Surgery Take Place?

A small opening is made in the skull with the support of local anesthesia. The patient is usually kept awake during the surgery for clear assessment of patient’s brain functioning.
Then, the electrodes are inserted into the brain. The target area where tremors and other symptoms are generates is identified precisely through computerized brain mapping technology. The patient does not feel any pain or discomfort physically because of the human brain’s unique inability to generate pain signals.
The electrodes are then connected to wires which extend to the pacemaker device known as internal pulse generator (IPG) installed inside the chest or near collarbone area’s skin. A magnet is also used with the IPG to adjust the intensity of stimulation for appropriate levels at the electrode tip. The IPG has a controller installed to manage and turn it on and off.

Are You Ready For DBS?

An appropriate candidate for Deep Brain Stimulation therapy is the one with moderate to severe medically intractable idiopathic Parkinson’s Disease. You can determine your stage and condition through a neurologist experienced in Parkinson’s Disease and movement disorders. It is important to understand that DBS is an elective treatment that one may choose, and is not a mandatory alternative to medicines or other treatment methods. Therefore, analyzing if you are ready for the treatment or not is quite important too.

Medical professionals conduct questionnaires to score the candidates on various aspects. As a standard procedure, the scoring involves low for least compatible and high for most compatible candidates. However, the red flags indicate complications which may obstruct your score even if it is good. They are analyzed on the basis of the following factors:

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Physical AspectsThe disease should be present in the patient for at least three years with two or more clearly indicative symptoms. Deep Brain Stimulation surgery should be conducted when the effectiveness of medicine in treating symptoms is still there but has reduced drastically. DBS does not work in patients who have stopped responding to medications.

Health Aspects

It is important to analyze your health condition before preparing for DBS surgery. Patients suffering from diabetes, blood pressure fluctuations or other ailments should disclose it to their medical professional for clear analysis. Many health conditions do not go well with the Deep Brain Stimulation device. You can consult your neurologist to get all the compatibility related tests done.

Mental Aspects

A thorough observation is done for patients to understand their mental status after Parkinson’s Disease. As the DBS surgery brings sudden improvement in the quality of life, it can be an overwhelming experience for many leading to loss of acceptance. This condition is directly connected to the conditions prevailing before the surgery and indicate an unideal candidate.

Other Factors

Apart from physical condition and health, DBS can be a daunting process for many based on some other aspects like:

Financial Aspects

Deep Brain Stimulation in India usually costs between INR 45 Lakh to INR 65 Lakh based on the severity of condition, complexity of health status and mode of payment. That is why, it is important to know if you are financially ready for the DBS therapy or not.

Insurance And Health Cards

Many insurance providers have enlisted Parkinson’s Disease in their list of serviced diseases. But it is recommended to consult your insurance or health care provider to know what, how and how much of it is covered in their list. Usually, 90% of the expenses are covered out of the provided limit, but it can vary largely based on individual company.

The Aftermath

Life after DBS surgery can be much better as compared to before, but there will be certain and sudden changes in lifestyle both physically and socially. With more independence of handling your day-to-day life, there can be an abrupt change in your everyday schedule. However, it is recommended to keep a loved one nearby for any support during the healing period of 15-30 days. If not, you can also choose to get a personal nurse who specializes in caring for Parkinson’s Disease patients.

If all the above factors seem comfortably compatible, then Deep Brain Stimulation surgery is the next best step for improving your quality of life. You can communicate with your medical professional regarding all the details, and they will help you find the best time and method to go ahead in the procedure.

Note – The content provided above is for informational purposes only. Please consult your medical professional before taking any steps based on the above information.