Monthly Support Group Answers Questions on DBS

By Karen Hales, Neurology Solutions Contributing Writer

Undergoing surgery for Deep Brain Stimulation can be a stressful experience for patients and their families. Neurology Solutions sponsors a deep brain stimulation (DBS) support group monthly to provide a chance to meet other people with Parkinson’s disease who have undergone DBS surgery.

Neurology Solutions providers currently oversee the pre- and post-surgical assessments and programming of more than 100 individuals who have undergone DBS to manage symptoms of a movement disorder. Many of our patients report that talking to other patients before having DBS surgery provided them great comfort and helped them reach a decision about surgery.

Individuals in the Austin area who have undergone DBS surgery or are considering this option and their families are welcome to join the DBS Support Group the third Friday of every month at Neurology Solutions Movement Disorders Center, 12345 N. Lamar Blvd., Suite 260. The DBS Support Group is a program of the Capital Area Parkinson’s Society.

When Should You Consider Deep Brain Stimulation

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is an advanced surgical option for movement disorders used to help manage debilitating symptoms common to Parkinson’s disease (PD), essential tremor and dystonia, as well as other conditions such as depression. Patients with a movement disorder often consider DBS implant surgery to stabilize their symptoms when medication is no longer significantly effective and to provide more consistent relief of symptoms in medication off-periods. DBS has traditionally been reserved for people who have lived with PD for 10 years or more, who experience severe symptom and medication fluctuations, and disabling dyskinesias.

It can take a patient several years to make the decision to undergo DBS surgery after initially hearing about this option to manage PD symptoms. However, while many people consider DBS a treatment of last resort, there is research that starting DBS therapy sooner is beneficial and it can potentially slow progression of PD. The results can be substantial, helping to limit the severity of medication “off periods” as well as helping patients reduce their presciption PD medications. In fact, DBS can “rewind” motor symptoms by four to seven years for many patients, said Neurology Solutions physical therapist Kara Doctor.

Deep Brain Stimulation Support Group Provides Insights

DBS is elective surgery, and the decision about whether to undergo DBS is always very serious and very personal. During the DBS support group, patients and caregivers participate in discussions, ask questions and share their personal experience with the DBS process with other movement disorder patients and Neurology Solutions providers.  The DBS Support Group is open to individuals who have undergone DBS, those who are candidates for DBS therapy, and patients who are undergoing assessment for DBS therapy for treatment of a movement disorder.

The meeting offers a chance to:
– Hear from other patients about their DBS experiences
– Discuss your concerns, experiences and successes with DBS
– Have your questions answered by Neurology Solutions’ providers who monitor and program more than 100 DBS patients in the Austin area

To learn more about DBS, download the National Parkinson Foundation’s Guide to DBS Surgery.

Call Neurology Solutions at 512-865-6310 to make an appointment for an assessment for consideration of DBS therapy.

Stay Connected to Neurology Solutions

If you are seeking another opinion on managing your symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, dystonia, essential tremor or an age-related movement disorder, make an appointment with Neurology Solutions to review your disease management plan.

Stay informed by frequenting Neurology Solutions’ blog, and join Neurology Solutions Movement Disorders Center’s e-mail list to stay up to date on the latest in treatments and how to manage stress, stay healthy and maintain quality of life while living with dystonia, PD and other movement disorders.