DBS Therapy is a personal decision — one you and your doctor should make together. The right time for DBS is when your medications still work, but not as well as they used to.
|✓||Have had Parkinson’s for 4+ years|
|✓||Have had movement symptoms and/or medication side effects for 4+ months|
|✓||Respond well to Levodopa|
|✓||Have movement symptoms not adequately controlled by medication|
You're probably taking medications to help control movement symptoms like tremor (shaking), slowed movement (bradykinesia), and stiffness (rigidity).
One common Parkinson's disease medication, levodopa, is typically very effective at first, but less so over time. As Parkinson's progresses, doctors prescribe more or different medications, and have you take them more often. The higher doses may not bring the relief you need and can lead to side effects like nausea, dizziness, or unintended movements (dyskinesia).
If you wait until your medications no longer help, DBS will no longer be an option — so don't think of DBS as a last resort. Instead of just putting DBS off until someday in the future, talk with your doctor about it now. That way, you will be ready to start at the right time for you.
Watch for these signs that your medications are not working as well as they used to:
DBS Therapy for Parkinson’s is not for everyone. Not everyone will receive the same results. Patients should always discuss the potential risks and benefits of the therapy with a physician. A prescription is required. DBS Therapy requires brain surgery. Risks of brain surgery may include serious complications such as coma, bleeding inside the brain, stroke, seizures and infection. DBS Therapy may cause worsening of some symptoms.
Medtronic DBS Therapy for Parkinson's Disease and Essential Tremor Clinical Summary, 2015.