Deep brain stimulation (DBS) may help control the movement symptoms of Parkinson’s — tremor (shaking), slowed movement (bradykinesia), and stiffness (rigidity). When medications aren’t as effective as they used to be and your symptoms make everyday life a challenge, DBS may help.
For many people with Parkinson's, DBS makes a difference when even small tasks have become challenging. DBS has helped some people stay as independent as possible and keep doing the activities they love.
DBS uses a small, pacemaker-like device, placed under the skin of the chest, to send electronic signals to an area in the brain that controls movement. To give you relief, these signals block some of the brain messages that cause the movement symptoms of Parkinson’s.
Compared to medications alone, DBS provides additional hours of good movement control each day.1 Good movement control makes it easier to do everyday things like writing, bathing and dressing, and drinking and eating.
Symptom control may help you continue to do what’s important to you, like taking care of family or continuing to work. Or participate more fully in an event like a vacation or a family wedding. For one woman, being able to hold her grandchildren meant everything.
As Parkinson's progresses over time, many people have to take more medications, more often. It can get hard to keep track of all the doses. The medications can also cause side effects like nausea, dizziness, and unintended movements (dyskinesia).
Medtronic DBS Therapy may reduce Parkinson's medication.1 This may reduce medication-related side effects like unintended movements. Less medication may also simplify your medication routine, with fewer pills or less frequent doses.
Waking up can be one of the toughest parts of the day since medications wear off overnight. While you are waiting for your first dose to kick in, you might feel stiff and find it hard to roll over in bed, stand up, or get dressed.
DBS delivers therapy 24 hours every day — it doesn't wear off while you sleep. It's already working the moment you wake up.
Unlike some other therapies used to treat Parkinson’s symptoms, the DBS system requires no daily cleaning or refilling; you can bathe or shower without worrying about your device; and you don’t have to carry or refrigerate supplies when away from home.
DBS doesn’t make things exactly like they used to be, but it makes things possible.— Anna
Medtronic DBS Therapy for Parkinson’s Disease and Essential Tremor Clinical Summary, 2015.