Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS)
Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) is a surgical procedure used to treat several disabling neurological symptoms—most commonly the debilitating motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD), such as tremor, rigidity, stiffness, slowed movement, and walking problems. The procedure is also used to treat essential tremor and dystonia.
DBS uses a surgically implanted, battery-operated medical device called an implantable pulse generator (IPG) – similar to a heart pacemaker and approximately the size of a stopwatch to – deliver electrical stimulation to specific areas in the brain that control movement.
While DBS is not a “cure” for Parkinson’s disease, the medical evidence indicates that it provides a better quality of life for most every Parkinson’s patient who undergoes the treatment.
Currently, DBS surgery is not being done in Newfoundland and Labrador. Our patients are travelling to Toronto for the procedure. While the treatment they receive is excellent, the travel is obviously inconvenient and costly, even with the provincial government subsidy that is provided to help offset costs related to the trip. We are also limited with the number of patients we can send to Toronto.
PSNL has embarked on an initiative to have the DBS Surgery available here in our province. A committee has been formed and we have started to engage government and healthcare officials to determine the costs and benefits of offering the surgery here. We feel we have a very strong case which demonstrates the many health and social benefits of offering the surgery to a larger number of people living with Parkinson’s (as well as several other conditions which can be treated by DBS) in Newfoundland and Labrador.
We will keep you updated on this initiative as we progress over the next few months.