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Hollywood celebrates success of deep brain stimulation
on World Parkinson’s Day
Fifty patients with Parkinson’s disease have undergone deep brain stimulation (DBS) at Hollywood Private
Hospital since it became the first hospital in Australia to carry out the procedure using an intra-operative
CT scanner and directional lead technology.
DBS is a delicate procedure whereby tiny electrodes are
implanted into the patient’s skull, sending electric pulses that
regulate abnormal impulses caused by Parkinson’s disease, a
progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement.
The amount of stimulation in DBS is controlled by a
pacemaker-like device placed under the patient’s skin in their
upper chest. A wire that travels under the skin connects this
device to the electrodes in the patient’s brain.
Hollywood Private Hospital neurologist, Dr Julian Rodrigues,
said although doctors had been performing DBS for about
25 years, the intra-operative CT scanner being used at
Hollywood had revolutionised DBS in Australia.
“It enhances accuracy, which in turn, has led to better
outcomes,” Dr Rodrigues said.
“It also means patients can undergo the procedure in one
session rather than breaking it into two sessions and moving
patients between the operating theatre and radiology.”
Dr Rodrigues said that while only select patients were
suitable to undergo DBS, the hospital had achieved
“All patients who have undergone deep brain stimulation
at Hollywood have seen improvements to their dexterity,
stiffness, slowness of movement and tremor giving them
greater independence,” Dr Rodrigues said.
An estimated 100,000 people are living with Parkinson’s
in Australia. It affects both men and women. Men develop
Parkinson’s a little more commonly than women although
the reason for this is not yet known.
Neurologist Dr Julian Rodrigues with patient Trudy Drabarek.
Historic deep brain
at North Shore
Two specialists from North Shore Private Hospital
have set a new record for deep brain stimulation
cases in New South Wales.
Neurosurgeon Dr Raymond Cook and Neurologist
Dr Paul Silberstein have successfully performed their
500th procedure on Christopher Miesch, a 71-year-old
patient living with Parkinson’s disease.
Drs Cook and Silberstein have been at the forefront of
deep brain stimulation (DBS) for nearly two decades.
The procedure is used for a variety of conditions involving
disorders of human movement when satisfactory
improvement is not achieved with oral medications.
There is strong evidence confirming DBS is effective in treating
tremor, dystonia, Tourette syndrome and Parkinson’s disease.
The six hour procedure involves electrodes being placed
in specific deep brain structures by a neurosurgical team.
The wires are then connected to a battery-operated device
which provides 24-hour therapy to alleviate symptoms.
The long-term benefits of deep brain stimulation can last
up to 10 years.
Dr Silberstein said: “All of the prosthesis or apparatus is
implanted beneath the skin so there is nothing external that
is visibly obvious. The stimulation is on 24 hours a day and
accordingly provides therapeutic benefit all through the day.”
“DBS allows us to smooth out the control of physical
symptoms so patients can be near their best control for most
of the time,” Dr Silberstein said.
Dr Cook said: “You can’t hide anywhere doing this sort of
work, because patients’ expectations are that they are going
to get better as a result of surgery.”
It is important to note that every patient responds differently
to treatment and, like all invasive procedures, there are
certain risks associated with DBS. Patients should seek
independent medical advice to determine whether this
procedure is suitable for them.
More information about deep brain stimulation is available
Patient Christopher Miesch pictured before,
during and after the DBS procedure.