You have options, DBS is one of them

You may consider Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) in the later stages of your journey when medications alone are no longer effective in managing your symptoms. It’s safe. It’s proven. And it’s helped over 100,000 patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) regain control and quality of life.1,2

What is DBS?

DBS uses a small, surgically implanted device called a “stimulator” to send signals to a targeted portion of your brain. This stimulation can improve your motor function by reducing symptoms such as tremor, slowness, and rigidity. For many patients, this therapy can be life-altering.3

Benefits of DBS

DBS has changed the lives of people with PD, easing symptoms and returning function that was once lost. The results of DBS vary from person to person depending on overall level of health, progression, and window of implementation. 

Benefits of DBS include:

  • Safe and effective solution to manage and reduce PD symptoms such as tremor, slowness, rigidity, uncontrolled movements, incontinence, and moodiness
  • May allow for a reduction in the number of PD medications taken4
  • Provide 6 hours of more “ON Time,” giving you control and independence to live your life free of rigidity, freezing or the troublesome dyskinesia sometimes caused by PD medication5
  • Patients with tremor experienced an average of 70% reduction of symptoms, depending on type and location6
  • Patients showed marked improvements in minor functions and sustained improvement for at least 5 years7

How it works

When people living with PD experience a disturbance in motor symptoms, it’s because low dopamine levels in the brain are causing abnormal signaling. DBS can help regulate those signals by targeting electrical stimulation. As a result, PD symptoms are often reduced.

See how DBS works to control PD symptoms.

Leads:

Your doctor will place one or two insulated wires called “leads” in the brain, which connect to a thin wire called an “extension.”

Stimulator:

A small device called a “stimulator” is implanted under the skin in the chest, which also connects to the extension.

Therapy:

The stimulator sends mild electrical pulses through the extension and leads to specific regions of the brain.

Know the timing of DBS

There is an ideal “window” for DBS surgery. In general, it’s best to consider DBS when you’re still responding to levodopa, but you’re no longer able to control your motor symptoms with medication alone. This timing will differ from patient to patient, as the path and progression of Parkinson’s is personal. Talk to your doctor in the early stages of treatment, and voice your desire to explore alternatives like DBS as you move through your journey.

“Thanks to DBS, my husband Kenny has experienced a drastic improvement in his symptoms and reduction in his medicine. That was a huge relief.” 

- Tania—Caregiver to Kenny, a Boston Scientific DBS patient

DBS is most effective when:9

Remember, PD varies from person to person

There is no age cut off for DBS, yet overall health status will influence if you are a good candidate or not.

You are still responding positively to medications (levodopa) but are no longer able to control motor symptoms with only medications.

Signs and evidence of dementia may influence if a specialist recommends you for DBS.

The best way to control any disease progression is to be proactive and start talking to your care team now. A DBS specialist could help you.

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