Brain surgery, science and education


As a pediatric neurosurgeon, neuroscientist, and educator, I come across many interesting bits of information and wonderful people. I will try to share some of this with you here. While the site draws heavily from my experiences as the Campagna Chair of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Oregon Health & Science University, and head of neurosurgery at Doernbecher Children's Hospital, this is a personal blog. My thanks to my wonderful OHSU colleagues, who share this exciting and rewarding work with me.


Saturday, June 30, 2012

New Technology to Treat Parkinson’s Disease and Tremor with More Comfortable Asleep Surgery



For patients who do not respond well to medication, surgery for Parkinson’s disease and severe tremor has been a mainstay since the 1950s. In fact, Dr. Kim Burchiel, the John Raaf Professor and Chair of Neurological Surgery, performed the first operations in Oregon using the most modern technique, implantation of deep brain stimulation electrodes. Dr. Burchiel has also been a pioneer in improved techniques and outcomes for brain stimulation operations.

Dr. Burchiel
One of the biggest barriers for patients to undergo deep brain stimulation surgery has been anxiety and discomfort. Typically, patients must be awake for the surgery, which uses a large metal frame clamped to the skull to direct the electrode. The only way to be sure the electrode was in the right spot was to turn it on and measure the effects in the patient … while they were awake!

Now, however, Dr. Burchiel has pioneered a new technique here at OHSU. He uses special intra-operative CT imaging to guide the electrodes to the exact spot deep in the brain needed, while the patient rests comfortably under a general anesthetic. Especially for some older and more fragile patients with Parkinson’s disease, this new technique is a real blessing, and may open up access to surgery for some patients who could not consider it before.

See how the new surgery works:


5 comments:

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