Patients are probably wondering what to expect if they choose deep brain stimulation (DBS) treatment for essential tremor. Here are the steps. Along the way, the patient will have the support and expertise of a neurologist and neurosurgeon who have special training and experience with DBS Therapy.
The neurologist — typically a movement disorder specialist — will evaluate to see if DBS is a good option. The evaluation usually includes:
The doctor will share the results with the patient, and together they will decide whether or not to go forward with the therapy.
The doctor will create images and maps of the patient's brain to help guide the placement of leads during the surgery. The patient will have an MRI or CT scan to capture images of their brain.
There are two parts to the DBS surgery: implanting a thin wire (lead) in the brain and placing the pacemaker-like device, called the neurostimulator, under the skin of the chest. The two parts may be done on the same day, or two different days.
A few weeks later, the doctor will turn on the neurostimulator and adjust the stimulation to best control the symptoms while minimising side effects.
It's extremely important for patients to attend all of their checkups with the doctor who manages their DBS therapy. The doctor will: