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DBS uses a small medical device that is implanted into your body, with leads implanted into the brain, which stimulates specific areas of the brain.
DBS is not a cure, but the stimulation may help improve many of the day-to-day symptoms and may also result in fewer medicines to take each day or reduced dosages of your medications.
Because your medicine may be reduced, you could also have a reduction in some of the medication-related side effects such as motor fluctuations (ON-OFF condition) and involuntary movements, also referred to as dyskinesia. For people living with Dystonia, Essential Tremor or Parkinson’s, DBS therapy may reduce some of the symptoms and improve daily life.
DBS can be a life-changing experience, but it does not happen overnight. It can take anywhere from a few months to an almost a year for your specialist team to adjust the device settings and medications to fit a patient’s unique needs.
After surgery, postoperative outpatient assessments are conducted regularly, particularly over the first year, by specialist movement disorder team who optimise your stimulation programme. Once you have obtained optimal response to your DBS system, you will have less dependency on consultancy appointments, follow up appointments will be reduced. You will be provided with care instruction packages, such as ‘How to re-charge my Device?’. You can find all the brochures here.
But always remember your specialist team are there to help and provide guidance, even if you have achieved optimal response to your DBS system, we are with you every step of the way.
All candidates should be at least 7 years old.
For Parkinson’s patients, ideal candidates are those who have been diagnosed for at least 5 years with Parkinson's. Responded well to levo-dopa treatment but are unable to control the motor symptoms of their disease with medicine alone.
The ideal dystonic patient candidate should no longer be achieving sufficient dystonia symptom relief with medicine alone. However, every individual is unique. You should discuss with your neurologist and other physicians with whom you work closely whether DBS is a suitable therapy option for you.
For Essential Tremor patients, ideal candidates have been receiving medicines without much benefit, or having side effects that are inhibiting your quality of life.
Ask for a referral from your General Practitioner to a specialist neurologist, geriatrician or to the specialist implanting neurosurgeon, who has an interest or is an expert in the area of movement disorders.
The internet can be a wonderful tool to find information quickly. But it is important to find the correct information. Patient association such as Parkinson’s UK and Dystonia UK are reliable sources of information.
The DBSNA Website is approved and led by the specialist teams themselves for reliable information.