Today, I went to see a NEW Neurology Doctor. It’s down the street from the hospital of my brain surgery in a different building: University of Physicians – Neurology.
I was there to explain to the doctor my “whole story” of all these things I’ve been through with my whole surgery. I explained how my right-arm is much more shaky after getting off this latest medication. Well, they have a plan….
Let’s do MORE Brain Surgery! 🙂
I’ll look into it and think about it. No coma-time (unlike my last surgery) and have it be just in & out in a day. Well, I don’t know about that ONE DAY. After surgery on my brain, I’d rather stay in the hospital at least ONE night. Eh?
So, how does this surgery work?
Deep Brain Stimulation for Essential Tremor.
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is used to treat a number of movement disorders, including essential tremor. DBS is a way to inactivate the thalamus, a structure deep in the brain that coordinates and controls muscle activity. The true cause of essential tremor is still not understood, but it is thought that the abnormal brain activity that causes tremor is processed through the thalamus.
How Effective Is Deep Brain Stimulation?
Deep brain stimulation provides moderate relief for approximately 90% of patients with essential tremor.
There’s allot more to Deep Brain Stimulation for Essential Tremor, but this list is interesting…
Advantages of deep brain stimulation include:
- It doesn’t destroy brain tissue and won’t limit future treatment.
- The device can be removed at any time.
- It is adjustable.
- It may be more effective in controlling tremors than thalamotomy, or destruction of the thalamus.
Disadvantages of deep brain stimulation include:
- Increased risk of infection from the presence of a foreign object in the body
- Repeat surgery every three to five years in order to replace the battery in the device
- Uncomfortable sensations that may occur during stimulation
MY THOUGHT: “Well, everything has disadvantages…”
Let’s look into it more….
What Happens During Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery?
Using CT or MRI scans, surgeons will target areas for placement of the electrodes. Some doctors may use an electrode-recording technique to map and target the specific areas in the brain they will need to reach.
Once the correct location is identified, the permanent electrodes are implanted in the brain. The loose ends are placed underneath the skin of the head and the incision is closed with sutures. The wires are attached to a small impulse generator, about the size of a pacemaker, that is placed under the skin on the upper chest. Two to four weeks later, the IPG is turned on and adjusted. It may take a few weeks until the stimulators and medications are adjusted before a person gets relief from symptoms.
Will I Be Asleep During Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery?
You will remain awake but in a type of “twilight” zone during most of deep brain stimulation surgery. This allows the surgical team to interact with you when testing the effects of the stimulation. Small amounts of local anesthetic (pain-relieving medication) are given in sensitive areas. The vast majority of people experience minimal discomfort during the procedure.
MY THOUGHT: “Twilight Zone…. I’ve always loved that show! 🙂 Basically awake during the entire surgery. Pretty much….”
What Should I Expect After Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery?
After deep brain stimulation surgery, you may feel tired and sore but will be given medication to keep you comfortable. Also, you may have irritation or soreness around the stitches and pin sites.
As with any surgery, there are some guidelines and limitations that you should follow after DBS. Be sure to discuss these with your doctor and ask questions before surgery. Understanding what you will be experiencing and knowing what to expect afterward can help ease some of the natural anxiety that comes with any medical procedure.
Can I Use Electrical Devices After Deep Brain Stimulation?
While you should be able to use most electronic devices after DBS surgery, you should be aware that:
- Some devices, such as theft detectors and screening devices, like those found in airports, department stores, and public libraries, may be triggered by your device. It may take extra time to go through airport security. Always carry the identification card given to you. With this, you may request assistance to bypass those devices.
- You will be able to use home appliances, computers, and cellular phones. They do not usually interfere with your implanted stimulator.
- You will be provided with a magnet to activate and deactivate your stimulator. This magnet may damage televisions, credit cards, and computer discs. Always keep it at least one foot away from these items.
MY THOUGHT: “Kicks theft detectors? …screening devices? Ugh… Might be a little hard with that. (kinda funny, though…)”
But, still do-able…