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DBS Provides Surgical Treatment Option for Parkinson's Disease

Robert Buchanan MD

Robert Buchanan, MD, serves Austin, Texas-based Seton Brain & Spine Institute as chief of functional neurosurgery and neuroscience. As both a neurosurgeon and a psychiatrist, Dr. Robert Buchanan ensures that each of his patients receives the most up-to-date and effective treatments for his or her specific condition. His work includes performing of deep brain stimulation (DBS) for Parkinson’s disease.

DBS is a surgically based treatment designed to assist with symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and other neurological conditions, including tremors, stiffness, and trouble with mobility. For individuals who have not been responsive to medication, DBS provides an alternate means in which to control symptoms and improve quality of life.
DBS relies on the use of a stopwatch-sized medical device powered by batteries known as an implantable pulse generator. Functioning in a way similar to a pacemaker, the generator electrically stimulates sections of the brain that are responsible for movement. During this stimulation, abnormal nerve signals are blocked, which relieves symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease.
While DBS is a newer form of treatment focused basically on individuals who have been unresponsive to or have too many negative side effects associated with traditional medication, physicians have seen benefits. DBS does not implement significant permanent changes to the brain, unlike earlier forms of surgical treatment for Parkinson’s. Additionally, as the generator is surgically implanted, it may be removed if the patient experiences adverse effects or new forms of treatment are developed. Many physicians have explained that through use of DBS, patients are both able to reduce the amount of medication they take while still seeing significant improvement in symptoms.

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