There are many diseases caused by abnormal impulses of the brain. In particular, some diseases that cause involuntary movements often do not respond to drug therapies. Neuroscience researchers are deeply working on numerous studies to succeed to reduce the symptoms of these diseases in the field of neurosurgery. As a result of these researches, a device and electrode system are found to stimulate the unusual impulses occurring in the brain.
The name of this technology is deep brain stimulation. In the deep brain stimulation procedure, electrodes are placed in certain parts of your brain. These electrodes produce electrical impulses that regulate abnormal impulses in the brain or stimulate certain cells and chemicals.
The amount of necessary stimulation in deep brain stimulation is controlled by a pacemaker-like device under the skin in your upper chest. In this article, we are going to review this method more deeply with its benefits and risks.
Deep Brain Stimulation Procedure
The whole procedure divides into two stages in deep brain stimulation. These are brain surgery and chest wall surgery. Firstly, your surgeon uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to map your brain to identify the area of the electrodes.
In the beginning, your surgeon will use a local anesthetic to make numb your scalp. However, for the rest of your brain surgery, you won't need anesthesia because the brain has no pain receptors. Your surgeon implants a thin wire lead with a number of electrodes at the tips into a specified area of your brain. Then, a wire passes under your skin to a pulse generator that your surgeon will implant near your collarbone. This implantation will be in the second part of your surgery.
During the second part of the surgery, the surgeon will implant part of the device containing the batteries (pulse generator) beneath the skin near the collarbone. This surgery can take place on the same day or later, after brain surgery.
Your surgeon will perform this part under general anesthesia to place the wires from the brain electrodes under your skin. He/she will program the generator to make it send electrical pulses to your brain. You can then easily switch the generator on and off with a special remote control. Your surgeon will tell you all the information about this control in a practical way after the operation.
For Which Conditions Is Deep Brain Stimulation Used?
Although the neurosurgeons are using deep brain stimulation method firstly for diseases that cause involuntary bodily movements, the scope is gradually being developed.
We may list the brain diseases and neurological conditions in which the surgeons are using this method successfully as follows:
• Essential tremor
• Parkinson's disease
• Tourette syndrome
• Chronic pain
• Obsessive-compulsive disorder
Neuroscientists are still working on the clinical trials of deep brain stimulation as an experimental treatment for major depression, stroke recovery, addiction, and dementia.
What Are The Risks Of Deep Brain Stimulation?
Deep brain stimulation is not a method for curing your brain conditions completely. However, it may help reduce your symptoms. Lessening the symptoms will be perfectly improving your daily life quality. To reach this successful result, you need to search your clinic and surgeon very carefully to go through this important process. As in every surgical treatment, you need to be aware of its risks and your exact expectations before having it.
There are some general surgical risks and possible side effects of this deep brain stimulation procedure.
Complications may occur during the surgery
• Bleeding in the brain
• Heart problems
• Breathing problems
• Seizures and nausea
Possible side effects after surgery
• Temporary pain and swelling at the implantation area
• Seizure and headache
• Hardware complications
Deep Brain Stimulation In Turkey
With the increase of successful deep brain stimulation operations, the number of successful surgeons is accordingly increasing all over the world. Turkey is becoming one of the leading countries in this field. Because the research units of our prestigious universities are investing in the new medical technologies and encouraging their surgeons to learn and apply them in their treatments.
One of these universities is Koç University, which has proven its success worldwide. Professor Selçuk Peker, who is a well-experienced surgeon at Koç University Hospital, Department of Neurosurgery, has been performed countless successful deep brain stimulation surgeries with his significant expertise for years.
This content is created and edited by Flymedi Medical Editors in February 8, 2019.