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Young people with early onset Parkinson's disease are often thought to be better candidates for many of the new surgical procedures and medical innovations used to treat symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Younger people typically respond better to surgery and have a lower risk of complications arising from procedures. Everyone seeking treatment for Parkinson’s disease should consult with their physician to explore these and other treatments.
Deep Brain Stimulation
Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) involves inserting a device into the brain. This device, often called a "brain pacemaker," sends electrical signals to specific parts of the brain. DBS in select brain regions has provided remarkable therapeutic benefits for appropriate people with early onset Parkinson's.
Benefits of DBS can include:
- Reduction or elimination of motor fluctuations and drug induced involuntary movements
- Potentially improved; mental functioning due to medication reduction
- Significant elimination of tremor, bradykinesia, and rigidity
Certainly, all surgical procedures carry certain risks. The DBS procedure poses a 1-2% risk of stroke or hemorrhage, which can occur during the procedure. Other very low risks include: infection, wire breakage, and skin erosion over the wire. While not a risk, battery replacement is required every three to five years. That is performed as an outpatient procedure. There also can be side affects associated with deep brain stimulation that should be discussed with your physician.
Cindy's DBS Story
I have had Parkinson's for 17 years now and I am only 51 years old! I went through years of slowly, but surely getting worse as the stages of Parkinson's came , and being the mother of 3 boys and having a husband away at sea (Navy) a lot of the time, it was progressively harder. I suffered for 13 years after this before all my avenues were exhausted. Time to look into Deep Brain Stimulation! Now after 2 brain operations (as I have Parkinson's on both sides) and some 'tweaking' of my implanted stimulator, I can do things I haven't done in years! My husband has his wife back, my boys their mother, etc. I am going to my 18 year old baby boy's graduation soon, with no in trepidation! Last year at this time I wasn't too sure of going, but this year is different! DBS surgery not for everyone, but in my case quality of life is not taken for granted, as I get up every morning I give thanks for a miracle, and shall continue doing so!
- DBS: What to Expect Before Surgery and After (Webcast) Presented by Julie G Pilitsis MD, PhD. Young Onset Parkinson Conference, Providence, RI, 2011
- The Changing Role of Deep Brain Stimulation
- The Electric Brain: Tailoring DBS Therapy for Parkinson's Disease Patients (Webcast)
Presented by Michael Okun, MD Young Onset Parkinson Conference, Sacramento, CA, 2010