First patient treated with pioneering DBS surgery

NEWS - 31ST MAY 2018

Mr Erlick Pereira, consultant neurosurgeon at The London Clinic, carries out the first deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery

A patient with Parkinson’s disease has successfully undergone a pioneering form of deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery at The London Clinic. This is a milestone in the hospital’s commitment to providing patients with access to the latest treatment technologies.

Parkinson’s disease is a debilitating progressive neurological disease that affects an estimated 7 million people worldwide. The main symptoms include tremor, slow movement and stiffness.

Dr Dominic Paviour, consultant neurologist, says: “As Parkinson’s disease progresses, the symptoms can become harder to manage with oral medicine alone and selected patients need to be considered for treatments that may help them regain control of their symptoms. While it is not a cure, DBS can help some patients manage their motor symptoms, giving them more independence and improving their quality of life.”

Precise electrical signals
DBS is a surgical procedure in which electrodes are implanted into the areas of the brain that control movement. The electrodes then send precise electrical signals to the targeted areas to help reduce the motor symptoms of the disease.

Mr Erlick Pereira, consultant neurosurgeon, who has introduced this new neurology service to hospital says: “I am delighted to have performed The London Clinic’s first deep brain stimulation surgery using the innovative Abbott Infinity DBS System. The electrodes implanted are segmented, which enables us to precisely steer electrical currents to the desired area in the brain, maximising the therapeutic benefit whilst reducing the potential side effects. For patient comfort, the surgery was performed under general anaesthesia, using a minimally invasive technique rarely done elsewhere with only 2mm holes for the electrodes. The electrode accuracy was excellent and the patient is doing very well.”

An experienced team
He adds: “This first deep brain stimulation surgery adds to The London Clinic’s comprehensive neurosurgery centre, which is able treat a wide range of brain and spinal conditions by leading healthcare professionals. An experienced neurosurgery theatres team, neurosciences ward, specialist physiotherapists, radiology department and state-of-the-art intensive care facilities are an important part of this success.”

Two weeks after surgery, the Abbott Medical Infinity DBS system is switched on. Patients are given an easy-to-use iPod controller that can adjust their DBS system settings within a pre-determined range, set by their neurologist, giving them greater control over their Parkinson’s disease symptoms.

DBS is one form of neuromodulation—the alteration of nerve activity by electrical or pharmaceutical agents. The London Clinic and Mr Pereira also offer spinal cord stimulation to treat patients with chronic pain and dorsal root ganglion stimulation for localised chronic pain.