Movement disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, epilepsy, and dystonia, can profoundly impact your quality of life. Medication can help manage these conditions,, but if your medicine becomes less effective and your symptoms interfere with your quality of life, our neurology specialists may recommend deep brain stimulation.
Deep brain stimulation is a type of neurosurgery involving implanting electrodes, or leads, and a neurostimulator device to help treat movement disorders.
Let’s take a closer look at how deep brain stimulation can help with your movement disorder.
How deep brain stimulation helps treat your movement disorder
First, deep brain stimulation doesn’t cure movement disorders, but it can help reduce the intensity of bothersome symptoms by disrupting abnormal brain patterns of electrical activity.
Like a pacemaker for your heart, deep brain stimulation also emits constant pulses of electrical charge but in your brain, so deep brain stimulation is sometimes called a “brain pacemaker.” These pulses disrupt the irregular electrical patterns in your brain and help restore normal brain rhythms. In turn, normal brain rhythms help to restore more normal movements.
To sum it up, deep brain stimulation helps with your movement disorder by interrupting the faulty signals (that cause the tremors or other movement disorder symptoms). The idea is that if the faulty signals are interrupted, the movement disorder symptoms subside.
Getting started with deep brain stimulation
Before you can begin to see the benefits of deep brain stimulation, the small electrodes — the wires that will interfere with the abnormal electrical signals in your brain — first must be placed in the correct area in your brain.
Our team conducts a series of tests to determine the optimal placement for the leads. Once this location has been determined, your Link Neuroscience Institute neurosurgeon implants the electrodes. A small neurostimulator (the generator) is implanted under your collarbone, and the neurostimulator is connected to the electrodes via a small insulated wire. The neurostimulator then emits pulses of electrical current that flow from the generator through the wire to the electrodes.
The electrical current is adjusted and fine-tuned to help you achieve the relief you need with your symptoms. It’s important to remember that deep brain stimulation doesn’t cure your movement disorder and may not eliminate all your symptoms but can reduce them enough to improve your quality of life.
Should you consider deep brain stimulation for your movement disorder?
Although the idea of neurosurgery can be a little intimidating, the goal is to help improve your quality of life, and for those dealing with movement disorders, that can be a beacon of hope.
You might consider deep brain stimulation if:
- You have a movement disorder
- The medications for your movement disorder aren’t as effective as they used to be
- You can’t tolerate medications for the disorder
- Your symptoms disrupt your daily life
Before committing to deep brain stimulation, our team performs a rigorous set of diagnostic tests to ensure this is the right treatment for you.
To learn more about the possibilities of deep brain stimulation, don’t hesitate to call the location nearest to you in Oxnard or Santa Barbara, California. You can also use our online booking tool to get started.