Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery – An Overview

Your brain is a three pound organ which houses various neurons, blood vessels and nerve centres which control literally every function of the body, making it the most complex organ.

Mesmerizing isn’t it?

Brain Cells

Have you ever wondered how exactly does the brain control the various functions of the body? No? Yes? Nevertheless, let’s get down to it.

The human body has countless number of functions it performs everyday. Whether its internal or externally. There are several hormones and enzymes at play here with regard to transferring information from the brain to the other parts of the body and vice-versa. The hormones are the body’s email, transferring information and stimuluses from one part of the body to the other.

Let us take Movement for example. It is a core function of the body, right? This is also controlled by the brain and a particular substance called Dopamine. This substance acts as a messenger between the two main areas of the brain which are crucial in the movement functions of the body – substantia nigra and corpus striatum.

What happens if there is a lack of Dopamine in the body? It results in the second most common neurodegenerative disease in the world.

Parkinson’s Disease.

Parkinson’s Disease...

What is Parkinson’s Disease and How is it caused?

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease which is characterised by acute and progressive loss of muscle control which eventually leads to the trembling of limbs, stiffness, slowness and consequently impaired balance.

The cause of Parkinson’s is related to this very question – What if there was a lack of dopamine in the body?

The lack of dopamine which is the result in the lack of dopamine producing cells in the substantia nigra. Due to the low amounts of dopamine, the communication between the substantia nigra and the corpus striatum is hampered and becomes ineffective. This eventually results in the impairment of movement which is what Parkinson’s disease basically is.

Even though many research studies has shown that what is immediate cause of Parkinson’s disease, it is yet, not known what exactly causes the lack of dopamine in the body. With regard to recent research, there are quite a few genetic and pathological studies which has revealed that stress, various dysfunctional cellular processes and also inflammation can results in cell damage.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease:

The symptoms of the Parkinson’s disease is mostly related to the voluntary and involuntary motor functions of the body. In most cases, the symptoms are mild at first but it progresses at a rapid speed over time which is the case in most diseases of course.

The Primary Symptoms of Parkinson’s are:

– Tremors
– Rigidity of Limbs
– Postural Instability

Parkinson’s Symptoms

These are the Secondary symptoms of the disease:

– Anxiety, Insecurity, Stress
– Confusion, memory loss, Dementia
– Constipation
– Depression
– Increased Sweating
– Skin Problems

With all the advent of scientific and medical technology and innovations everyday, there isn’t a cure for Parkinson’s disease as yet but one such surgery which has proven to be effective to some extent is Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery.

What is Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery?

Deep brain stimulation surgery is a procedure which aims in treatment of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease tremors, stiffness and trouble walking. It also treats for the side effects of medicines given for Parkinson’s.

DBS - Pacemaker

The deep brain stimulation surgery isn’t a cure for Parkinson’s and does not stop the disease from getting worse but is done if someone has had Parkinson’s disease for more than five years and does not feel relief with the medicines.

How does Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery work?

The Deep brain stimulation system has four parts:

– The Lead which is a thin wire is placed in the part of the brain which causes the symptoms.

– A Pacemaker which is a pulse generator is attached to the chest sending electrical signals to the lead.

– A wire which connects the lead to the pulse generator.

– Remote control which is used to control the program. It is the only part which is placed outside the body.

Procedure of Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery

The procedure is sometimes split into two surgeries or may also be done together. The first part of the deep brain stimulation surgery is done to surgically place the lead in your brain and the second part of the brain stimulation surgery is done to surgically place the pulse generator on the chest.

First the lead surgery is done and post a few weeks after the surgery, the chest surgery is done.

Once the brain surgery starts as a part of the deep brain stimulation surgery, the surgeon uses a wire frame to be inserted into the skull after numbing the scalp. Once the wire frame is inserted, a brain scan is done to create a map of some sort to navigate effectively in the brain.

Post this, the next step for deep brain stimulation surgery, is the surgeon making a very small sized hole in the skull. The doctors use a special probe and attach it to the wire frame and navigate across the brain to find the ideal spot to place the lead.

For this procedure, you will be awake the whole time and under anesthesia of course. In the middle of the deep brain stimulation surgery you may need to answer a few questions and also move specific body parts at times. Learning a few calming techniques before the surgery is helpful.

The lead is placed in the target spot which is found with the help of the probe. The lining of the wire that will be connecting the lead to the battery will be under the skin of your scalp. In case you are wondering, it is not painful.

The hole in the head is closed with stitches and a cap is placed. Since this is an extensive and delicate surgery, you will be staying overnight at the hospital.

Post the Deep Brain stimulation surgery:

The medicines for Parkinson’s will be taken on a daily basis and normally as well as was done before the surgery.

The device cannot be programmed until the swelling of the brain has gone down which takes two to four weeks. The deep brain stimulation surgery needs to be given six sessions over six months for the settings of the machine to work. Once the machine starts working, the benefits include taking less medication and the probability of symptoms getting better.

Side Effects of Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery:

Even though, it betters the symptoms to some extent and decreases the intake of medicines, also to some extent, deep brain stimulation surgery has many side effects which gives rise to a lot of issues.

Side Effects of Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery
Some of them are:

– Stroke Symptoms like slurred speech and numbness
– Changes in memory, mood and thinking
– Seizures
– Movement and Speech Issues
– Headaches, Dizziness and Tingling.

The Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery is infamously famous. It is innate human nature to try and do everything to see a person breathing, even if it doesn’t mean he or she is alive. But all said and done, Parkinson’s disease usually always gets worse. Since there is no immediate cure, a Deep Brain Stimulation surgery in some way ensures a comparatively better quality of life if not anything else. We at Medisys do our best in trying to make sure that our patients lead a comfortable and comparatively better life than they were doing before.

About The Hospital
Medisys Hospitals is a growing super speciality hospital in Hyderabad that represents the vision and mission of a group of highly qualified and experienced veteran medical professionals. Started in June 2016, it is a 200-bedded hospital with all medical and surgical specialities available. We rely on our in-house state-of-the-art diagnostic and therapeutic possibilities to provide high level care for our patients.