Is Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) for Parkinson’s disease risky?

There is a small amount of risk involved in every surgery.

Since DBS surgery is relatively minor, the risk is low but is not non-existent.

  1. The risk of death is less than 1%
  2. Approximately 5% of patients can have serious complications such as stroke, seizure and infection. But most of these problems are cured with medications. Only 1% of these patients have permanent problems from these complications, such as permanent weakness of one side of the body.
  3. A few patients have minor problems such as problems in wire connections or a non-functioning battery. These are easily corrected.

In short, about almost 90-95% of patients do not have any complications during or after the surgery, and the risk of death or permanent problems is very small (less than 2%).

The risk of permanent problems after DBS surgery is quite small.

Even after the surgery is safely done, there is a chance that your symptoms may not improve after surgery. Most (70% or more) patients improve after surgery but some do not. Some patients may have worsening of depression or memory problems.

It is essential to understand that carefully choosing patients for surgery can prevent most of these problems. To increase the chances of you having a safe and successful surgery, careful selection of patients for DBS is absolutely necessary.

It is critical to choose patients for DBS very carefully.