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.
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: