Patients must be well aware of the risks and benefits associated with deep brain stimulation surgery. The patient is required to pass several medical tests in order to ensure eligibility for the procedure. Once that’s done, an MRI is required in order to decide on the location where the electrodes are implanted.
How It Is Performed
Deep brain stimulation surgery consists of two parts:
Brain surgery – A head frame is created especially for the patient, in order to ensure that the patient’s head does not move during the procedure. Local anaesthesia is administered to the patient before an incision is made into the scalp. The surgeon will then implant a wire with four electrodes into the area of the brain which requires treatment. The wire will then lead to a neurostimulator. The neurostimulator acts as a generator for electric impulses to be sent into the brain.
Upper chest surgery – A few days after the brain surgery part of the DBS procedure is complete, the patient is put under general anaesthesia. The doctor will then implant the neurostimulator into the patient’s upper chest, often close to the collarbone. The stimulator is connected to the electrodes in the patent’s brain with wires underneath the skin. The generator or neurostimulator can be turned on or off by the patient at any given time.
Patients are required to avoid flying for at least 4 days after the DBS surgery. The incisions need to be kept dry for at least a week after the deep brain stimulation surgery. Most patients are able to return to normal activities in around 2-3 weeks.
Risks and complications associated with deep brain stimulation surgery can include:
● Bleeding within the brain
● Calcification of the implant
● Rejection of the neurostimulator
Deep brain stimulation side effects can include:
● Cognitive dysfunction
● Brain swelling
Deep brain stimulation surgery success rates depend heavily on the patient’s condition. For Parkinson’s disease, the success rate can be in the high 90s.
Before And After
Patients will be required to visit their surgeon and neurologist, 4 weeks after the deep brain stimulation surgery. It’s important to note that deep brain stimulation surgery cannot fully treat diseases, but only alleviate symptoms. Results may differ from patient to patient.
– Is the neurostimulator permanent?
No, it will need to be removed and replaced in 3-4 years.
– When can I resume exercise?
You may resume exercise in around 3 weeks from the DBS.
– Can I have an MRI after DBS?
No, patients need to avoid MRI exams after the procedure. Special types of MRI exams can be performed, so it’s best to inform your doctor about the implant.