Innovation for Parkinson's and essential tremors

If you've been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease or Essential Tremors, or if you think you may suffer from these illnesses, look to the experienced and caring clinical team at Johnston-Willis Hospital for an evaluation and treatment. Our goal is to maximize your quality of life and independence.

Treatment plans at our hospital may include Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) to reduce the symptoms of tremor, slowness of movement, stiffness, and walking problems caused by movement disorders. This surgical procedure involves implantation of a pacemaker-like device that sends electrical signals to brain areas responsible for body movement.

Once disease has started to affect a patient's quality of life, they may look to surgery. The DBS procedure involves placing a thin metal electrode (about the diameter of a piece of spaghetti) into one of several possible brain targets and attaching it to a computerized pulse generator, which is implanted under the skin in the chest below the collarbone.

How DBS helps

DBS is often described as a brain pacemaker because constant pulses of electrical charge are delivered at settings that are thought to restore normal brain rhythms, allowing the restoration of more normal movements.

Deep brain stimulation with medications:

  • Provides 5 additional hours of movement control each day.
  • Improves quality of life more than medications alone.
  • Makes it easier to do daily activities like bathing and getting dressed.
  • Significantly reduces medication use, which may mean fewer related side effects.

At our hospital, your clinical team is made up of nurses, a neurosurgeon, and a neurologist specially trained in movement disorders. We focus completely on your comfort and convenience, coordinating everything from testing, diagnosis and evaluations to help you effectively manage your condition.

You may be a candidate for treatment with Deep Brain Stimulation if your Parkinson's symptoms have previously been well controlled with medication but you are now experiencing abrupt on/off fluctuations, involuntary movements called dyskinesias that are caused by medication, or other side effects of medication limiting their usefulness. Also, if you have a tremor (whether caused by Parkinson's disease or essential tremor) that is not responding well to medical therapy. The procedure is completely reversible, brain tissue is not destroyed and the device can be removed leaving no permanent brain lesions.

Deep Brain Stimulation is not a cure for movement disorders, but it can successfully treat symptoms by disrupting the abnormal patterns of brain activity that become prominent in these diseases.