Dystonia: Choosing a Better Life with DBS
Dystonia is a neurological disorder marked by involuntary contraction of muscles that not only results in repetitive, twisting movement but also affects a person’s ability to maintain the right posture. The condition may be localized, involving just one part of the body; involve two or more different parts or have a widespread impact, i.e. affect all parts of the body. These are known as focal dystonia, segmental dystonia and general dystonia respectively.
How Dystonia can Impact the Quality of Your Life?
How a certain condition or ailment affects the quality of your life majorly depends on the symptoms and complications that it can trigger. As far as dystonia is concerned, it can give rise to a variety of debilitating symptoms and complications, that include:
● Physical disability which interferes with your ability to perform normal day-to-day tasks like climbing stairs
● Excessive fatigue and tiredness owing to the involuntary contractions
● Problems related to vision, which may involve the eyelids as well
● Problems related to jaw movement that affect your ability to chew and swallow food
● Excessive and uncontrollable drooling
● Pain and discomfort in the affected areas
● Slurred speech
● Depression, anxiety and low self-confidence
19-year-old Hazem Raia came to India, all the way from Syria, after living a compromised life due to dystonia for years. He was experiencing uncontrolled neck movement along with walking difficulties, both of which prevented him from leading a quality life. After thorough evaluation and assessment, a specialized team of experts from IBS Hospitals recommended Deep Brain Stimulation and the procedure worked wonders for him. Hazem, as well as the team, could see phenomenal improvement right after the surgery. Earlier his head used to uncontrollably tilt towards the back, but after the procedure, he gained the control to hold it in the right position. Hazem is one among the countless people suffering from dystonia, but instead of leading a compromised life, he gave himself a new chance with DBS.
Wondering How the DBS Helped Him? Let's Try to Understand
Deep brain stimulation or DBS is an advanced surgical modality that works by stimulating certain parts of the brain using implantable electrodes. The controlled stimulation has not only proved to be life-changing for people with dystonia but several other movement disorders as well.
Working of DBS
Deep brain stimulation uses a battery-powered stimulator that primarily consists of 3 major parts, the implantable electrodes, the insulated leads and the pulse generator. The electrodes are implanted in the brain by performing a surgical intervention (Majorly awake craniotomy) using detailed brain imaging and mapping for targeting the affected areas. Another surgery is performed to implant the pulse generator in the patient’s chest. The former and the latter are connected using thin leads that run under the patient’s skin. Once the circuit is complete, Doctors allow the surgical wounds to heal and then activate the device.
DBS for Dystonia
Dystonia is caused by the production of abnormal signals by the brain, which results in the uncontrolled contraction of muscles. DBS helps to prevent or weaken these abnormal signals, thereby helping to reduce involuntary muscle contractions. Earlier the procedure was just performed on patients with generalized dystonia, however now, it has a much wider scope and can be used to treat all other types as well. The procedure has widened the spectrum of possibilities for patients suffering from the most severe form of the disease.
If you, or someone you know, is suffering from dystonia, you should consider seeing the top neurologist in Delhi to learn if deep brain stimulation is an option for you. The procedure has helped many people suffering from the condition, over the years and helped them lead a better life.
By -Dr Aaksha Shukla | June 19, 2023 | 9 Min Read
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