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Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery

May 30, 2012

My husband was diagnosed in 2005 at the age of 39. Started with the usually, tremors, loss of arm swing, etc.Tremors went away very quickly with medications but the stiffness and slowness took over. He has slight dyskenesia and dystonia when his Sinemet kicks in… then as it tapers off he does somewhat better.

He had Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery this past January and has had 3 programmings so far. We haven’t seen any difference as of yet. I know Parkinsons Disease is different for everyone but I feel as though the people with tremors do better with Deep Brain Stimulation.

We are told that in could take a year of programmings to see a difference. Do you find this to be true?

I hope they didn’t do the surgery if they didn’t feel it would help?



I invite anyone with Deep Brain Stimulation experience to comment here. I have heard reports that reflect a wide variety of outcomes. As you state, what works for one person may not necessarily succeed for another person.

There has been a 2011 study that evaluated the effects of Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery over a ten year period. The abstract of this study follows.

Archives of Neurology [2011] Published online August 8 (A.Castrioto, A.M.Lozano, Yu-Yan Poon, A.E.Lang, M.Fallis, E.Moro)

Researchers assessed the outcome of Deep Brain Stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus (STN-DBS) in people with Parkinson’s Disease over a period of 10 years. Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) involves the use of electrodes that are implanted into the brain and connected to a small electrical device called a pulse generator that can be externally programmed. DBS requires careful programming of the stimulator device in order to work correctly.

DBS improved the Parkinson’s Disease symptom score by 25% in comparison to no treatment, including resting and action tremor by over 85%, and bradykinesia by 23%. It did not stop deterioration in speech, walking, and postural instability, including falling and freezing. L-dopa dosages reduced to about 63% of what they were initially. Daily living activity also improved. Dyskinesia and motor fluctuation scores also remained significantly lower. Potential adverse events included : a trend to weight loss, visual hallucinations, impulse control disorders possibly related to dopamine agonists, progressive cognitive decline culminating in dementia, device related infections.

Robert Rodgers, Ph.D.
Road to Recovery from Parkinsons Disease

One Response to “Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery”

Steve Arndton 05 Jun 2012 at 9:18 am

I am one of the success stories with dbs. I also run a PD support group, and volunteer to answer question for people with PD who are considering the procedure.

  • My tremors were mild before, gone now.
  • Stiffness and rigidity, my primary symtoms,(and related aches and pain) reduced by about 85%.
  • Ability to walk (before dbs, my toes were curled under my feet and gait issues) impoved easily by 95%. Now walking minimum of 1.5 miles daily.
  • Sleep improved dramatically.
  • Urination urgency is gone
  • Freezing (just starting approx 1 year before dbs: Gone
  • Falling: No change
  • Voice volume and diction: no change
  • PD “mask”: improved 90%
  • Micrographia, (plus sloppy writing!): no improvement.
  • Unwanted acceleration (fenestration): no improvement
  • Poor posture: no change
  • Motor coordination: Improved 80%
  • Muscle cramping: improved 95%
  • Constipation: Improved 60%
  • Mood disorders: Improved 30%
  • Loss of sense of smell: No improvement
  • Cognitive disorders:(early signs of mild dementia): No change
  • Skin problems: No change
  • Fatigue/Loss of energy: 50% Improved
  • Hot weather intolerence: no improvement
  • Medication: from 10 carbi/levodopa pills daily down to 4 daily. ~Side effects of medication reduced:75%
  • Side effects of implants were negligeable except for having “itchy” skin above the cable running from my neurotransmitter and my electrodes for the first several months post surgery.

It took them about 7 months to really hit the sweet spot as far as device programming. Life is out standing! I feel like it is the next best thing to not having PD!

Diagnosed 7 years ago, symptomatic for 2 years before dx. Please feel free to contact me with any questions at srarndt@.com


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