DBS remote programming helps patients who lack easy access to neurologist.
There are many deep brain stimulation benefits, namely reducing many of the most troubling movement disorder symptoms, including body tremors. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) and asleep DBS are safe and effective for treating Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, epilepsy, and dystonia.
DBS involves the surgical implantation of thin wires (leads) in the brain that are connected to a small generator near the collarbone. Denver DBS Center neurosurgeons use the Abbott DBS system and perform surgery at the Neuroscience Center at Littleton Adventist Hospital. Once activated and programmed, the DBS system works by sending painless electrical signals to an area of the brain that controls movement.
DBS systems are precisely programmed for your unique needs. After the initial programming, you will need periodic adjustments to keep the system working at its full potential of controlling your symptoms. Programming and adjusting the settings traditionally takes place in your neurologist’s office.
However, Denver DBS Center is now one of the first in the country to offer remote programming. This allows patients to get their DBS system adjusted from home. This feature makes it easier for patients who live in rural areas or patients who do not have access to transportation to get the programming adjustments they need to continue enjoying the deep brain stimulation benefits.
FAQs about Deep Brain Stimulation Benefits
Continue reading below to learn more about deep brain stimulation benefits of remote programming, or click to go directly to these subjects:
- What are the deep brain stimulation benefits?
- Can deep brain stimulation treat Parkinson's disease?
- Are there deep brain stimulation benefits for patients with essential tremor?
- What is Abbott deep brain stimulation?
- What is deep brain stimulation programming?
- Who is a good candidate for DBS remote programming?
- What is the deep brain stimulation success rate?
Conditions Treated with DBS
What are the deep brain stimulation benefits?
While not a cure for movement disorders, there are many deep brain stimulation benefits. Deep brain stimulation surgery can reduce many of the side effects associated with movement disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, epilepsy, and dystonia including:
- Slow Movements
- Walking Problems
Can deep brain stimulation treat Parkinson's disease?
Medication and physical therapy are often first-line treatments for Parkinson’s disease, but if you’re not getting the symptom relief you would like or you have adverse side effects to the medication, you may want to consider deep brain stimulation (DBS).
Deep brain stimulation benefits for people with Parkinson’s disease include fewer tremors and reduced medication. First approved by the FDA for Parkinson’s disease in 2002, DBS is effective in early stages of Parkinson’s disease and may extend your life. While every Parkinson’s patient must be evaluated to determine if DBS is right for you, below are some general criteria:
- Clear diagnosis of idiopathic (arising spontaneously) Parkinson’s disease
- Absence of dementia
- Any fluctuations in symptoms with levodopa therapy (Parcopa, Sinemet, Stalevo)
- At least some improvement with levodopa therapy
- Lack of serious disease that would prevent surgery
- No age parameters, but patients under 75 generally do better
Are there deep brain stimulation benefits for patients with essential tremor?
When essential tremor impacts daily quality of life or severe tremors have not improved with other treatments (such as medication and physical therapy), deep brain stimulation (DBS) may be recommended. Approved by the FDA for essential tremor in 1997, DBS has helped more than 100,000 people better control their tremors. Typically recommended for those who have failed medications or for patients whose tremors cause extreme quality of life interference, DBS has been shown to effectively suppress essential tremor for more than six years after implantation. Asleep DBS has equal deep brain stimulation benefits for patients with essential tremor.
What is Abbott deep brain stimulation?
Abbott deep brain stimulation is a DBS system. The neurosurgeons at the Denver DBS Center use the Abbott deep brain stimulation system for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, epilepsy, dystonia, and OCD. The device is small and comfortable, and it allows our neurosurgeons to design a program and make adjustments remotely. Patients report high satisfaction with the Abbott DBS system. Ninety-six percent of patients with an Abbott deep brain stimulation system say they would recommend DBS to others.
What is deep brain stimulation programming?
Once the DBS system is surgically placed, your physician will activate and program it to provide you the greatest deep brain stimulation benefits. Because every patient is different, it can take up to six months and several appointments before you and your physician find the right setting for you.
Traditionally, this programming is conducted in your neurologist’s offices. But now, the Denver DBS Center has become one of the first centers in the country to offer a new Abbott remote programming system. This system allows your neurologist to program and adjust your DBS system virtually while you are at home.
During remote DBS programming, you’ll meet with your neurosurgeon via telehealth video on a smartphone or tablet. He or she will ask you about your symptoms and ask you to perform simple tasks to assess your functionality. Your physician will then wirelessly adjust your DBS treatment settings and, if needed, make adjustments to your medication regimen.
Who is a good candidate for DBS remote programming?
Good candidates for DBS remote programming include patients who are unable to travel to their neurologist’s office for follow-up visits due to distance or hardship. At-risk patients who would prefer to receive programming from home to reduce their exposure to COVID-19 also are good candidates.
What is the deep brain stimulation success rate?
DBS is effective in most patients who qualify for treatment. Success rates vary, depending on the type of disorder being treated and symptoms being considered, but they generally range between 70% and 80%. DBS also can be effective for the long-term. A recent study indicated patients still benefitted from DBS 15 years after surgery.