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What is a Brain Stimulator? Brain Stimulator Surgery and Its Effects

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What is a Brain Stimulator? Brain Stimulator Surgery and Its Effects

Brain pacemaker is a surgical intervention used in the treatment of neurological diseases. This method, known as deep brain stimulation (DBS), is achieved by placing electrodes into the brain and using a battery device. DBS is considered an effective option for controlling the symptoms of various neurological diseases, especially Parkinson’s disease.

What is a Brain Stimulator?

Brain pacemaker is a surgical procedure that aims to regulate neural activity by sending low-voltage electrical currents to certain areas in the brain. Electrodes are implanted into the brain, and electrical currents sent through these electrodes contribute to the reduction of symptoms by regulating the activity of nerve cells. Brain pacemaker is based on the principle of implanting thin electrodes into the brain and connecting these electrodes to a stimulator controlled by a battery. Electrodes are placed in areas of the brain designed to relieve symptoms of certain neurological diseases.

In Which Diseases Is Brain Stimulator Used?

Brain pacemaker is used effectively in the management of various neurological diseases. Diseases for which brain stimulation is used are as follows:

  • Parkinson’s Disease: Brain pacemaker plays an especially important role in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. It is used as an effective solution to motor control problems and tremor symptoms in Parkinson’s patients. A brain pacemaker may be preferred for patients who do not respond to drug treatment or are in a difficult situation due to drug side effects. These patients may experience a significant reduction in symptoms such as tremor, slow movement, and balance problems. Improvement in motor control helps the patient perform daily living activities more comfortably.
  • Tourette Syndrome: Tourette syndrome is a neurological disorder characterized by tics. Brain stimulation can have a positive effect on controlling these tics. It may be preferred especially when other treatment methods are ineffective or their side effects become intolerable. Electrodes are implanted in the brain areas that control tics. The stimulator sends regular electrical impulses to reduce or stop tics.
  • Dystonia: Dystonia causes loss of muscle control and can lead to involuntary muscle contractions. Brain stimulation can be used to relieve dystonia symptoms and control muscle spasms. The stimulator sends electrical signals at a specific frequency to reduce muscle spasms. In this way, involuntary muscle contractions can be improved.
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Benefits of Brain Stimulator for Parkinson’s Patients

Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder caused by a decrease in dopamine production in the nervous system. While brain stimulation therapy offers a promising solution for Parkinson’s patients, it is important to determine a specific treatment plan for each patient. The benefits of brain stimulation for Parkinson’s patients are:

  • Improvement of Motor Control: Brain pacemaker can play an effective role in controlling motor symptoms such as tremor, muscle stiffness and slow movement, which are common in Parkinson’s patients. Electrodes are placed in areas of the brain related to motor control and nerve cells are stimulated by sending regular electrical signals. In this way, patients can move in a more controlled and orderly manner and continue their daily lives more comfortably.
  • Reducing Drug Addiction: Brain stimulation therapy offers an alternative for patients who do not respond to drug treatments or cannot tolerate the side effects of drugs. This treatment allows patients to lower their medication dosage or avoid possible side effects of the medications. Thus, patients can go through their treatment process more comfortably.
  • Increase in Quality of Life: The quality of life of Parkinson’s patients can significantly increase with brain stimulation treatment. Improvement in motor control helps patients perform daily living activities more independently. This can increase patients’ social interactions and increase their overall life satisfaction.
  • Individual Adjustability: Brain stimulation treatment can be adjusted individually according to the needs of each patient. Stimulation levels can be personalized to optimize the treatment process for each patient.

How is Brain Stimulation Surgery Performed?

Brain stimulation surgery is a surgical procedure called deep brain stimulation (DBS) and is used to control the symptoms of neurological diseases. Before the decision for surgery, the patient is evaluated by a multidisciplinary team. Suitable candidates for brain stimulation surgery are generally selected according to certain criteria. This evaluation focuses on factors such as the patient’s general health, the type of disease and the severity of symptoms. If the patient is deemed suitable for brain stimulation, surgery planning can begin.

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During the preoperative planning phase, a brain map is created using techniques such as computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This map is used to allow the surgeon access to the correct brain regions during surgery. During the surgery, the patient is usually awake and under local anesthesia. The surgeon places thin electrodes on predetermined brain areas. Electrodes will be used to send regular electrical signals to nerve cells. After the electrodes are placed, the battery device (stimulator) is implanted under the rib cage. This device controls and regulates the electrical signals sent through the electrodes. The surgical team ensures proper placement of the pacemaker. After surgery, stimulation levels and adjustments are personalized based on the patient’s needs.

What are the Risks of Brain Stimulation Surgery?

Although brain stimulation surgery is an effective method in the treatment of nervous system diseases, this surgery has certain risks, as in every surgical intervention. Brain stimulation surgery risks can be listed as follows:

  • Infection Risk: Since brain battery surgery is a surgical intervention, it carries the risk of infection. Infection may occur in the area where the implant is placed. This condition can be reduced with early diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
  • Device Related Problems: The implanted device may have technical problems such as malfunction, breakage or slippage. This situation can be solved by monitoring the patient with regular checks and correcting or replacing the device.
  • Bleeding and Tissue Damage: Bleeding that may occur during surgery may cause damage to brain tissue. This risk can be reduced by having an experienced surgeon perform the surgery.
  • Stroke Risk: Surgical intervention can damage brain blood vessels, which can increase the risk of stroke. However, this risk is generally low and can be minimized with the meticulous work of a specialist surgeon.
  • Incompatibility and Side Effects: Stimulation of the stimulating device after brain stimulation surgery may cause undesirable side effects in some patients. These side effects may include headache, nausea, or sensory changes.
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The risks of brain stimulation surgery may differ for each patient and are related to the experience of the surgical team, patient health, and other individual factors.

Life After Brain Stimulator Surgery

Following surgery, patients collaborate with healthcare professionals for regular follow-up visits. During these visits, the working order of the electrodes and the battery device is checked. If necessary, arrangements are made and the patient’s general health condition is evaluated. When returning to their daily lives after surgery, patients should plan their activities in accordance with the doctors’ recommendations. Physical activities, social interactions, and proper nutrition can support overall health. Since brain stimulation surgery is effective in controlling symptoms, patients may need to reduce their medication use. However, the process of reducing or stopping medication is carried out carefully under the supervision of a specialist. Physical therapy and rehabilitation after brain stimulation surgery can help increase the patient’s mobility. Experts support the process of returning to daily living activities by creating a special rehabilitation program tailored to the patient’s individual needs. The process of coping with neurological diseases is often emotionally challenging as well. Patients and their families can receive psychosocial support after brain stimulation surgery. Patients should be aware of possible complications in the postoperative period.

Life after brain stimulation surgery requires a multidisciplinary approach, and ongoing collaboration between the patient and healthcare professionals is important. Signs of infection, any malfunction of the electrode or battery device, or unexpected side effects should be reported to healthcare professionals as soon as possible.

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