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Battery Therapy Puts an End to Tremors and Chronic Pain

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Battery Therapy Puts an End to Tremors and Chronic Pain

With battery therapy used for movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and tremors, as well as some chronic pain, patients’ complaints are significantly reduced. However, it is important to consult a doctor early to catch the most suitable time for surgery.

Movement disorder is a condition that refers to conditions such as slowness, irregularity in movements or tremors during the initiation and maintenance of movements without loss of strength or sensation. Most of it is caused by the decrease or irregularity of the chemicals that enable communication between cells in the brain. Anadolu Health Center Brain and Nerve Surgery Department Director Prof. Dr. Mehmet Çağlar Berk says, “There is also a genetic basis to the problem,” but he adds that it has not been fully resolved yet. For example, there are genetic studies in this direction in Parkinson’s disease. It is known that essential tremor, which is especially common, is genetically transmitted in families. In the continuation of our article about battery therapy, which improves the quality of life of patients not only in movement disorders but also in pain, Prof. Dr. We looked at the issue from a broader perspective with the information shared by Mehmet Çağlar Berk…

In which diseases do movement disorders occur?

The most well-known movement disorder diseases are Parkinson’s and essential tremor, which are seen in middle and older age groups. Essential tremor is a more common disease but requires less frequent treatment. Parkinson’s is a problem on which more scientific studies are being conducted and more effective treatments are being investigated. Especially; In patients, it often manifests itself with slowness of movements, a general stiffness in the body, balance disorder and tremors at rest.

In its early days, Parkinson’s can be confused with other movement disorder diseases. After diagnosis, drug treatment is first administered. Sometimes, while there are periods when it progresses rapidly, there may also be periods where it does not progress at all for years. However, as the disease progresses, albeit slowly, surgical treatment may be on the agenda. Especially in cases where there is no response to drug treatment (such as the drugs are insufficient or there are side effects), the surgical treatment option is considered. There is a period when surgery is most beneficial, especially in Parkinson’s disease, which coincides with the middle stage of the disease. In the very early stages, patients do not need surgery because they benefit sufficiently from drug treatment. In very advanced stages, there is a situation where surgery will no longer benefit. Therefore, it is important to consider and evaluate surgery at an early stage.

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When is Brain Stimulation Treatment Applied?

A brain pacemaker is a small device placed in the chest, similar to a pacemaker. It transmits electricity with great precision to a center in the brain (the center where the problem occurs in movement disorders) through two electrodes. In this way, movement disorders are reduced or eliminated.

The ideal time for brain stimulation treatment for patients is the period when they do not receive sufficient benefit from their medications or when the benefits they receive from the medication begin to decrease. The main purpose of this treatment is to imitate the benefit of the drug with electrical stimulation. This is actually like turning back the biological clock in Parkinson’s disease; With brain stimulation surgery, it is possible to take the symptoms of the disease back up to 10-15 years.

How is Brain Stimulation Surgery Performed?

For brain stimulation surgery, first a map of the brain is created using imaging methods. At Anadolu Health Center, the preliminary preparation part of the surgery is performed outside the operating room as much as possible. At this stage, after the target is determined via computer, it is planned how to reach it in the healthiest way. Afterwards, the patient is taken into surgery under general anesthesia. Electrodes are placed in the determined places and checked again with imaging methods to see if they are in the right places. After the electrodes are connected to the battery under the skin on the chest via extension cables, the patient is woken up.

Is there any benefit to the patient if it is performed under general anesthesia?

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Brain stimulation surgeries have been performed since 1987. It is a treatment that has been successfully applied to more than 300 thousand Parkinson’s patients to date. In the early days, when technology was not as developed as it is today, the patient was left awake and some tests were performed, especially since it was not sure where the electrodes were placed during surgery. However, today, with the introduction of advanced imaging techniques and innovative applications such as hybrid operating rooms, this is no longer necessary. Surgeries can be performed under general anesthesia. This provides comfort to the patient and significantly shortens the surgery time. With the techniques applied at Anadolu Health Center, the surgery is completed in 4-4.5 hours. Patients stay in the hospital for 1-2 days. The patient is kept in intensive care for closer monitoring on the first night, but most patients are able to go home on the first day after surgery.

Success Rates of Brain Stimulator

The success rate of brain stimulation surgery in solving Parkinson’s, epilepsy and tremor problems is high…

First of all, brain stimulation is a treatment that aims to reduce the patient’s complaints, not to treat the disease itself. This is important because when the patient’s complaints are reduced, the quality of life increases significantly. If the goals set when planning the surgery are achieved, the patient’s complaints decrease by 80-85% or even higher. Problems such as not being able to hold a glass or a pen or walking are largely eliminated. A success rate of 75-85% is achieved in reducing tremor complaints. There is a 50-60% improvement in slowing down movements and a 60-70% improvement in body stiffness complaints. Of course, what is important here is that the electrode is exactly targeted, at the most accurate point. As a result, considering that it is a closed surgery and the targeted area is a very small area of ​​3-4 mm, positioning the electrodes precisely and in the right place is an important factor that increases the success of the result.

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Can Battery Therapy Be Applied to Everyone?

There is no age limit. Although most movement disorders in children are of genetic origin, brain stimulation treatment is also successfully applied to them. The important thing in brain stimulation treatment is; The patient does not have conditions that would prevent surgery, such as heart, blood pressure or lung diseases. Patients for whom medications are insufficient or the desired doses cannot be given due to side effects also benefit from battery therapy.

Where is the Brain Stimulator Placed?

The battery is placed under the skin, usually on the upper chest.

Usage Duration of Brain Stimulator

There are two types of brain pacemakers; rechargeable and non-rechargeable batteries. Non-rechargeable batteries are used for 5-6 years. Rechargeable batteries have a lifespan of 10-12 years. When the battery expires, it can be replaced in 10-15 minutes. Moreover, the patient does not need to receive general anesthesia.

Is Battery Therapy Used for Chronic Pain?

There are batteries placed on the spinal cord for this type of pain, and they are used for chronic pain, not movement disorders. For example, it is used for pain that persists or becomes chronic after spinal surgery – especially herniated disc surgery, pain due to diabetic neuropathy, and pain caused by nerve damage.

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