Doctors still unaware of deep brain stimulation as treatment modality for Parkinson’s patients: Dr Anirban Deep Banerjee

 In Blog

By Rashmi Mabiyan

New Delhi: Almost 10 percent of all Parkinson’s patients become refractory to medicines usually 10 years down the line as the disease progresses, said Dr Anirban Deep Banerjee, Senior Consultant Neurosurgeon & Functional Neurosurgeon, Institute of Neurosciences, Medanta – The Medicity.

Parkinson’s in India
Today we are seeing a rising number of neurological degenerative disorders especially in the middle and the elderly age group.

Around 1 percent of India’s population is suffering from Parkinson’s disease, according to Dr Banerjee.

Parkinson’s disease is a long-term degenerative disorder of the central nervous system in which the movement-regulating cells of the brain get disabled, leading to tremors, slowed movement, balance problems, speech and behaviour changes.

Treating the disorder is very important in order to maintain the quality of life of the patients, Dr Banerjee added.

Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) Surgery
“At the present level of research, one of the most established procedures which has shown improved results especially in movement disorders is Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery,” Dr Banerjee said.

Deep brain stimulation is a neurosurgical procedure involving the implantation of a medical device called a neurostimulator, which sends electrical impulses, through implanted electrodes, to specific targets in the brain for the treatment of movement and neuropsychiatric disorders.

It is an established therapy which started around 25 years ago in the west and picked up in the 2000s in India.

“DBS is a live surgery, we don’t anesthetize the patient and this takes away a huge chunk of the complications. The technology is advanced as the patient improves during surgery and the medications get reduced by 70-80 percent,” said Dr Banerjee.

“Today we are doing around 200 cases per year all over the country which is quite less as compared to the number of patients who would benefit from this therapy. The service of deep brain stimulation should reach far greater number of patients than it is reaching now,” he further added.

Major Challenges
Even today the acceptability of the therapy is lacking and only those go ahead with the surgery who are convinced about DBS.

Dr Banerjee said, “The main challenges are awareness and the cost of the surgery that ranges from Rs 10-14 lakh. Even the referral doctors are not much aware that this modality of treatment is available here in India.”

If people are aware about the improvement in the quality of life with DBS surgery then only they will become more open about the surgery. Once the demand improves the prices will eventually come down, according to Dr Banerjee.

Future Outlook of DBS
Talking about the future of deep brain stimulation surgery in India, Dr Banerjee said, “In the next 5-10 years we should be doing at least 1,000 cases all over India.”

“Deep brain surgery has a very bright future in India as there is a need for this surgery with the rising number of patients facing neurological symptoms and living a bad quality of life,” he concluded.


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