Deep Brain Stimulation for Treating Movement Disorders

Movement disorders refer to certain neurological conditions that adversely affect quality, speed, and efficiency of movement in an individual. Movement disorders emerge when a specific region of brain that regulates and controls voluntary actions of an individual gets weakened or damaged. Most of the movement disorders are progressive in nature. They may result in loss of coordination and deteriorate overall quality of patient’s life over a period of time. Faulty genes and nerve diseases are considered to be major reasons that fuel up the chances of getting movement disorders.


Major Types of Movement Disorders

There exist many types of movement disorders. Some of the major types of movement disorders whose prevalence has increased over last few decades are described below.

  • Essential Tremor – This neurological disorder mainly affects arms, hands, voice, and face of an individual and causes uncontrollable shaking. This disorder may interfere with patient’s basic routine activities like dressing or eating food and lead to disability if left untreated.
  • Parkinson’s Disease (PD) – Parkinson’s disease is a common type of movement disorder that mainly affects older people. It is progressive in nature. Stiffening of muscles, balancing problems, improper posture, and changes in speech and writing are the most prominent symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
  • Tardive Dyskinesia – This condition causes involuntary movements and it mostly affects lower portion of an individual’s face such as chin and lips. Facial deformity and tongue thrusting are the major warning signs of tardive dyskinesia. This condition usually results from intake of several neurological medications.
  • Dystonia – This disorder indicates a condition which causes uncontrollable muscle contractions in an individual. Cramping of leg, speech problems, and uncontrolled blinking are the major signs of dystonia. It has been observed that women are more prone to this nervous system disorder as compared to men.
  • Tourette Syndrome – Tourette syndrome refers to a condition that involves repetitive and uncontrolled movements of several body parts including eyes, shoulders, and arms. An individual suffering from this disorder may experience symptoms such as shrugging shoulders, persistent blinking of eyes or making unusual sounds from mouth.
  • Epilepsy – Epilepsy is a neurological disease that provokes frequent episodes of seizures or uncontrolled jerking movements in an individual. An abnormal staring spell, temporary confusion, and loss of consciousness are the key symptoms that indicate the condition of epilepsy.

 deep brain stimulation for treating movement

What is Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS)?

Deep brain stimulation is a surgical intervention which can be used to treat a vast range of neurological movement disorders. It involves implanting specialized medical instruments known as ‘electrodes’ in patient’s brain. These electrodes are capable of controlling abnormal signals that may lead to uncontrolled body movements. Respective neurosurgeons place pacemakers-like device in upper chest region of patients which is interlinked to electrodes to serve the purpose of brain stimulation.


Who Benefits from Deep Brain Stimulation?

Deep brain stimulation does not cure movement disorders completely. However, it considerably reduces the symptoms of patients. The following category of patients can largely get benefited from deep brain stimulation procedure.

  • Severe Movement Disorders – Patients who are suffering from progressive and severe movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease or tremor from a prolonged period are considered to be good candidates for deep brain stimulation.
  • Failure of Medications – When medications fail to control symptoms of movement disorders, then deep brain stimulation may prove useful.
  • Side Effects of Drugs – In some instances, medicines may help in controlling symptoms of movement disorders but at the same instant, they cause life-threatening side-effects. Such patients can also consider option for deep brain stimulation surgery.


Diagnosing Movement Disorders

Respective neurosurgeons may begin the diagnosis procedure by requesting patients to undergo a complete medical evaluation. They may ask them their current healthcare reports, medicines which they take on a regular basis, and their daily lifestyle habits. After that, respective neurologists may order the following tests to diagnose the exact movement disorder which is bothering the patients.

  • Neurological Evaluation – Neurosurgeons may check patient’s reflexes and their overall body posture. They may ask them to perform simple tasks to analyze their memory skills and thinking pattern.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) – An MRI test is a painless scanning procedure. It involves exposing patients to strong magnetic fields and radio waves in order to obtain precise images of their brain and nearby tissues.
  • Blood Tests – Certain blood tests can also prove beneficial in understanding patient’s internal condition. Patients may have to undergo blood tests prior deep brain stimulation


Preparing for Deep Brain Stimulation

Patients will need to follow the given steps prior to their deep brain stimulation surgery. It will significantly help them stay fit and recover at a faster rate in future.

  • Medicines – Respective neurosurgeons may prescribe certain essential medicines to patients or may disallow them to consume their regular medicines for a few days.
  • No Smoking – Patients will need to give up smoking in order to attain a healthy recovery. Otherwise, smoking can create various health issues and delay the healing process after completion of deep brain stimulation
  • Healthy Diet – Patients should avoid eating processed and junk foods during their pre-operative phase. They should eat fresh veggies and include seasonal fruits in their diet for maintaining good health condition.


Deep Brain Stimulation Procedure

Deep brain stimulation involves two interconnected surgical procedures. First procedure involves the brain region and other involves chest area of patients.

  • Brain Surgery – Brain surgery is performed under local anesthesia. It involves numbing specific areas of patient’s scalp and brain for relaxing them. Respective neurosurgeons use a special head frame called as ‘stereotactic head frame’ for making patients comfortable and keeping their head still throughout the operation of brain. After that, surgeons perform imaging tests to find out areas of discomfort. They mark target areas and start performing the procedure. This procedure is clinically referred to as ‘brain mapping’. Once, the areas are marked, surgeons start to place electrodes which have two leads on either side. These leads are connected to a pulse generator device which is placed near patient’s collarbone or chest area. It is mainly responsible for providing connectivity to electrodes during stimulation.
  • Chest Wall Surgery – Once brain surgery is finished, neurosurgeons start preparations for chest wall surgery. This surgical procedure is performed on same day or within a couple of days under general anesthetics. Patients are asleep during entire procedure. Respective neurosurgeons connect the pulse generator to a small device which contains batteries. Once this device is fixed properly, neurosurgeons connect the brain electrodes with it. They program the pulse generator with essential commands to send signals whenever required.

Neurosurgeons provide a remote which can externally control the system. Patients can turn it on or off, according to their need.


Risks and Complications Associated with Deep Brain Stimulation

The following points elaborate some major risks and complications associated with deep brain stimulation procedure.

  • Bleeding in Brain – Bleeding in brain may occur sometimes following deep brain stimulation An immediate medical care is required to control such complications.
  • Stroke or Heart Problems – Patients may have to face life-threatening complications such as stroke or heart disorders following deep brain stimulation.
  • Severe Infection – There is a strong possibility of getting a severe infection at the implantation site. Therefore, patients must stay careful and right away contact their respective neurosurgeons on experiencing such situation.
  • Breathing Issues – Patients may encounter serious breathing problems like shortness of breath. They must stay calm and take medications to avoid the occurrence of these complications.

This surgery is slightly risky. Therefore, patients must consult a well-versed neurosurgeon in order to minimize health complications following the surgery.


Recovery Following Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery

Patients may have to stay in the hospital for three to five days following deep brain stimulation procedure. Respective doctors will perform a medical examination and program the pulse generator depending on patient’s current health status. They will precisely guide patients regarding the use of pulse generator device. They will explain them everything that they need to know. Patients should not hesitate in asking questions to surgeons. Patients will need to attend follow-up care sessions regularly in order to avoid health complications in future.


Best Benefits of Availing Deep Brain Stimulation in India with Travcure

Travcure Medical Tourism is a renowned medical tourism facilitator across the world. Healthcare experts at Travcure are dedicated to providing finest neurological treatments and surgeries such as deep brain stimulation to international patients at highly economical prices. Deep brain stimulation cost in developed nations like Australia and United Kingdom is extremely high. Whereas, Travcure offers deep brain stimulation in India at nearly one-third of the amount which other western countries normally demand. Team Travcure arranges a free online medical consultation for overseas patients with top neurosurgeons in India and helps them in availing their medical visas at the earliest. They assist international patients right from the time they arrive in India until their complete recovery. In fact, they stay in touch with them during the postoperative period even when they return to their native countries. Therefore, international patients willing to undergo best deep brain stimulation in India can completely rely on such peerless healthcare services provided by Travcure Medical Tourism.

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