Deep Brain Stimulation for Parkinson's
Deep brain stimulation is a method of treatment for a variety of brain conditions, including Parkinson's disease. This type of treatment delivers electrical stimulation to block abnormal nerve signals in targeted areas of the brain. After undergoing deep brain stimulation for Parkinson's, many people with the disease experience a considerable improvement in their symptoms and can significantly reduce the amount of medication they take.
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a surgical procedure used to treat a variety of disabling neurological symptoms -- most commonly the debilitating Parkinson's disease symptoms, such as:
- Slowed movement
- Walking problems.
Deep brain stimulation is also used to treat essential tremor, a common neurological movement disorder. At present, deep brain stimulation is only used for people whose symptoms cannot be adequately controlled with medications for Parkinson's disease (see Parkinson's Disease Medications).
Before the procedure, a neurosurgeon uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scanning to identify and locate the exact target within the brain where electrical nerve signals generate the Parkinson's disease symptoms. Some surgeons may use microelectrode recording -- which involves a small wire that monitors the activity of nerve cells in the target area -- to more specifically identify the precise brain target that will be stimulated. Generally, these targets include the:
- Subthalamic nucleus
- Globus pallidus.