Parkinson’s Brain Surgery

Is Brain Surgery the Solution to Ease Parkinson’s Symptoms?

Thanks to modern age technology, we are able to create and invent new things every day that help make the world a better place. Scientists and researchers are able to find treatments and remedies for even the toughest diseases on the planet. Diseases like Parkinson’s can now be eased for the patients and symptoms are a bit controlled. It’s all thanks to modern age technology and cutting-edge inventions. This means that there is hope after all for all the people out there that need it.

Parkinson’s Disease is a crucial syndrome that can destroy a person’s self-esteem and life in general. With its severe symptoms, most of them end up with depression, which helps the symptoms get even worse. However, there are some medications and other remedies that help reduce and control these effects effectively. One of these treatments is brain surgery.

What it is and how it works? You’ll find out more about it in this article.

Parkinson’s Disease Overview

Before we get into brain surgery, we’re going to explain a bit about Parkinson’s Disease. According to the Parkinson’s Foundation:

Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects a person’s motor-related skills making him/her unable to do simple tasks like writing. The symptoms usually start off with simple hand tremors that aren’t detectable in the first stages of Parkinson’s Disease (PD). These tremors then get worse in time and spread out to other parts of the body. Patients find it hard to hold small objects or any kind of objects without dropping them unintentionally because of the high-frequency shakes in their hands. As the disease progresses, patients find it hard to stand up and walk around because of the stiffness it causes.

Statistics say that PD can only be found in people that are 50 of age or more. A little lower rate is found in younger people like 40. People younger than that can be diagnosed with Parkinson’s but it’s almost rare. Even if they do have Parkinson’s, it’s almost unnoticeable because the tremors come and go and are hardly detected. Other factors such as gender aren’t considered an aspect of risk when it comes to PD diagnoses. However, men get diagnosed with PD more than women but that doesn’t mean that women don’t get it as well. Let’s just say that men have a 50 percent chance of getting Parkinson’s’ more than women.

Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery for PD

As mentioned at the beginning, there have been new breakthroughs that scientists have created for PD. A delicate and effective brain surgery that will help you control most of your motor-related symptoms is Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS). As per the Michael J. Fox Foundation, DBS is a very commonly used brain surgery that includes assembling metal wires in the brain of the patient that sends electrical pulses to the brain. These metal wires are conducted by a professional surgeon to help treat your PD and have you controlling your motor-related symptoms better. Although it doesn’t control all of the person’s motor symptoms, it depends on the person’s body and reaction to the surgical treatment.

However, before this surgical treatment is applied, a team of experts, neurologists, and brain surgeons gather around and conduct a series of tests. These tests are important to make sure you’re qualified for DBS surgery. They examine your medication prescriptions, analyze your symptoms when you don’t take the medication, and take brain imaging scans. After all the necessary tests are conducted and you turn out to be qualified for a DBS, it’s best you consider all the advantages and disadvantages before you go through it. Let your care team or doctor run you through all the potential risks like strokes and infections, and have you take the final decision. Remember that you have the choice to either go with it or not.

How Does It Work and Can Anyone Get a DBS?

The surgery is very delicate and requires careful attention to detail. In the surgery, the surgeon applies thin wires that are called electrodes into either one side or both sides of the brain. Of course, they are placed carefully in the points where movement is controlled by the brain. Most of the time the patient is kept awake during this process to help the surgeon detect the right points to apply the wires or electrodes. Another test is also conducted to determine how large should the power of the wires be produced to help the person take more control over their body. They usually decrease the amplitude of the charge until the person reaches the point where they can’t control their tremors or speech. This will help give the patient more control and not have the DBS do all the work.

As the surgeon finishes applying the thin wires, they then connect them to a small battery-operated device that is placed below the collarbone. This device controls the electric pulses that run through the wires and to the brain so that the person takes control of his/her body. The device is called a Neurostimulator. Note that this device works to decrease motor symptoms like slowness, tremors, and stiffness, but it isn’t effective around symptoms like loss of balance and other non-motor symptoms.

Even though the results of the Neurostimulator are outstanding it’s still not considered smart to have it for everyone. The people that are qualified for this brain surgery are the ones that had PD for at least 4 years and medication isn’t providing needed results. The surgery might worsen a patient’s memory and create other memory-related problems so it’s not recommended for people that have dementia.

What Happens After the Surgery?

After a few weeks of when the surgery is complete, the patient needs to see their doctor so that they can adjust the DBS device. This stage is very important for the specialist or doctor needs to make a few tweaks to make sure the Neurostimulator is working perfectly. You need to know that the wire or electrodes are about 150 volts per second for each wire, which makes it a delicate matter to attend to.

It’s highly recommended that every few months the person comes in for the doctor to tweak and adjust the amplitude on the device. It’s because, with Parkinson’s Disease, the symptoms intend to get worse as it progresses with time. So, adjustments are needed for the person to stay in control of their body. The patient also has the option to turn the device on and off anytime they wish, but with symptoms decreasing we don’t think a person would want to turn the Neurostimulator off.

Finally, the battery of the Neurostimulator runs out over two to three years, which means the patients have to come in to change it. It’s very normal for the battery to run out because keeping it turned on 24/7 will decrease the battery’s durability.

Focused Ultrasound Surgery

The FDA approval on focused ultrasound surgery in 2018 opened the gates for conducting more related clinical trials. This step has raised hopes when it comes to managing Parkinson's symptoms.

Focused Ultrasound Surgery (FUS) can be done without general anesthesia or surgical incisions. The patient can still be awake when conducting the surgery without any inconveniences.
To understand it more, imagine using a magnifying glass to focus sunlight rays on a piece of paper to make these tiny holes in it. The focused ultrasound surgery works this way.
Based on the symptoms that should be managed, doctors use ultrasound rays to target and destroy specific brain cells that cause movement disorder.

Focused Ultrasound Surgery (FUS) is usually performed on one side of the brain to manage the symptoms in one side of the body only. Doctors can't conduct such surgery on both sides of the brain because it may lead to speech, swallowing, or memory problems.

Steadi-Two from Us!

Brain surgery is one of the most effective treatments for Parkinson’s these days. Although it’s not for everyone to have or do. It’s essential that you conduct the necessary tests and have professionals determine whether you’re qualified for the surgery or not.

Luckily, we here at Steadiwear have created the best remedy for your hand tremors. With our Steadi-Two glove, you can control your hand shakes and be able to do several tasks without losing control. This glove is a smart fluid that stiffens & works together with a counterweight that moves in the opposite direction of your tremor.

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