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

DBS is a surgery done for patients with Parkinson’s disease. The full form of DBS is Deep Brain Stimulation.

In short: Yes, it is very helpful in carefully selected patients.

If your symptoms are well controlled with medications, no doctor in their right mind would recommend you to have surgery. But in a few patients, medications no longer produce adequate improvement. Either the improvement lasts for a very short time, or the medication produces such dramatic dyskinesias that giving an adequate dose is impossible.

There is no need to have surgery if your symptoms are completely controlled with medications.

Approximately, 70% of such patients benefit from this surgery. The improvement is very significant, but DBS does not make all symptoms of Parkinson’s disease magically disappear.

It is very important to have realistic expectations from the surgery. Some patients improve more after surgery, some patients improve less. On average, patients get 5 extra hours of good functioning during which time they can walk, talk, go around and – in general – have a better life.

About 70% of patients benefit from DBS.

The 5 “good” hours may not seem like much. But when you consider the fact that these patients frequently don’t even have 4 hours of good functioning before the surgery, it represents a major improvement in their quality of life.