A 69-year-old man from Ranchi, MM Singh, and Ayush Jain, a 12-year-old boy from Indore, are the first patients in Asia of Parkinson Disease (PD) and dystonia – a neurological disorder –to be implanted with the latest deep brain stimulation (DBS) system.
DBS is a surgical procedure used to treat several disabling neurological symptoms—such as tremor, rigidity, stiffness, slowed movement, and walking problems experienced by PD patients.
It uses a surgically implanted, battery-operated medical device similar to a heart pacemaker and approximately the size of a stopwatch—to deliver electrical stimulation to specific areas in the brain.
The device is battery-powered and while the previous generations of DBS devices lasted for about five years, the latest gadgets last five times that. In the older version, patients would have to undergo another surgery for the replacement of the battery.
But Singh and Ayush will require a surgery only after 25 years, if at all, for the replacement of battery that has been implanted in their bodies.
“The new technology provides us with new stimulations options we have never had before. We are particularly pleased with the long battery life of the new DBS systems,” said Dr Paresh Doshi, neurosurgeon at Jaslok Hospital, who operated on Singh and Jain.
The Vercise system manufactured by Boston Scientific also has an edge over previous generation devices, as they allow doctors to customise therapy for patients, depending on their specific medical needs.
While the new device is more expensive, Dr Doshi said he’s working with the company and other stakeholders to ensure the cost is not exorbitantly high. The older generation of devices cost between Rs 7 lakh and Rs 9 lakh.
“If the device can last up to 25 years, then in many cases, where patients are older, they will never have to undergo a battery replacement surgery. It is not just a medical advancement but relieves patients from a huge financial constraint,” said Dr Milind Sankhe, consultant neurosurgeon at Hinduja Hospital.