What You Need to Know About Neurosurgery for Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson's disease is a condition that affects the cells in the brain that control movement. As the cells are damaged or die due to the progression of Parkinson's disease, they no longer produce dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps coordinate nerve and muscle cells to produce movements. Symptoms of Parkinson's disease include involuntary movements, stiff muscles, and the inability to make spontaneous movements.
One treatment option used to alleviate the symptoms of Parkinson's disease is neurosurgery. Here's what you need to know about neurosurgery for Parkinson's disease.
Surgery Isn't the First Course of Treatment
If you're diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, your doctor won't automatically recommend that you have surgery. Instead, your first course of treatment will likely involve some type of prescription medication.
There are numerous medications available to help you control the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Some medications encourage increased dopamine production, while others encourage other nerve cells to react as if they've been exposed to dopamine. As your condition progresses, you might find that prescription medication is no longer effective at controlling your symptoms. If your symptoms are interfering with your quality of life or overall level health, your doctor may recommend surgery to reduce the frequency and severity of your symptoms.
The Goal of Neurosurgery for Parkinson's Disease is Symptom Management
Surgery for Parkinson's disease often involves operating on the portions of the brain that are responsible for producing the involuntary movements and tremors associated with the condition. During the operation, your surgeon will drill into these portions of the brain and create intentional lesions or remove specific portions of the brain. The goal is for the new lesions or removal is to alter your brain's signals so that you no longer experience uncontrolled movements. There are multiple techniques used to change the functioning of your brain.
One technique is known as a pallidotomy. A pallidotomy involves inserting a wire probe into the brain and producing lesions in the globus pallidus. This option decreases the occurrence of involuntary movements and improves your balance. Another surgery is known as a thalamotomy. During a thalamotomy, your surgeon removes a small portion of your brain's thalamus. Removing this portion will decrease the frequency of tremors in the arms and hands. Then there's deep brain stimulation. Your doctor will implant electrodes in the brain that will deliver electrical impulses to the areas that control your movements. These impulses will assist with helping you control your movements.
Neurosurgery for Parkinson's disease doesn't cure the condition; instead, it gives you an alternative option to manage common symptoms of the disease. Contact local pain management doctors to learn more about your options.