Over time, Phillip experienced adverse reactions to the medications and his tremors continued to worsen. At this point, Oguh referred Phillip to UF Health neurosurgeon Daryoush Tavanaiepour, MD, who specializes in treating movement disorders.
Tavanaiepour and the UF Health multidisciplinary team reviewed Phillip’s case, and determined he was a good candidate for deep brain stimulation, or DBS, which uses a device to treat Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders. It is designed to change how brain cells work by providing electrical stimulation to a certain area of the brain.
Phillip’s surgery involved a fully integrated team of highly trained medical professionals who specialize in movement disorders. The surgery takes about three to four hours, and every step is crucial to a successful outcome.
One of the first steps is administering anesthesia, which is more complicated in DBS than in other types of surgery, because surgeons wake up the patient in the middle of the procedure to test the device.
For most patients with Parkinson’s disease, the electrode is placed in the subthalamic nucleus region of the brain. Before placing the electrode, the team needed to confirm they had found the correct spot.
“Each region of the brain has different brainwaves and firing patterns,” Tavanaiepour said. “Some regions have a signature way of firing neurons. Our neurophysiologist looked closely at this to determine if we had found the right location for Phillip.”
The team also used a state-of-the-art computer system that can track where the electrode is traversing and confirm it has reached the right location.
Tavanaiepour then made an incision and delicately implanted the DBS electrode. At this point in the surgery, the team carefully woke Phillip up.
Once they confirmed he was awake, Tavanaiepour turned on the device. They gave Phillip a half-full bottle of water and observed his hand shaking from the tremors as he held it. Within seconds the tremors went away and Phillip’s hand was steady. This confirmed correct device placement.
Following surgery, Phillip recovered at UF Health Jacksonville for a couple of days before being discharged.