Special procedure leaves man with Parkinson’s living more comfor - KCTV5

Special procedure leaves man with Parkinson’s living more comfortable life

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Doctors at St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City are working to help Parkinson’s patients live a more comfortable life. (KCTV5) Doctors at St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City are working to help Parkinson’s patients live a more comfortable life. (KCTV5)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Nearly 60,000 American’s are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease each year, according to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation.

People with this incurable disease suffer from shaking of the hands and face, as well as trouble walking and stepping. Though at St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City, doctors are working to help these patients live a more comfortable life. 

For David Goodman, simply picking up a glass of water, or even typing on a computer, used to be challenging.

“There’s numerous activities in day to day life that you can do without the control of your hands,” Goodman said.

That was until he had a special procedure.

“It’s called DBS which stands for Deep Brain Stimulation,” Goodman said.

According to St. Luke’s neurosurgeon Dr. Stephen Griffith, the procedure includes a device that’s similar to a “pacemaker for the brain”.

“There are two electrodes that are very small that are implanted inside the brain. One on either side,” Griffith said.

A battery is then placed on the front part of the chest -- much like a pace-maker battery.

“It delivers power to those electrodes. And when those electrodes stimulate those deep areas of the brain, it stops the tremors and the rigidity,” Griffith said.

In the past, a patient was required to be awake for the procedure. Now, with recent advances in neuroimaging, the patient can be put to sleep.

“That’s an easier surgery for the patient to tolerate and it’s also a faster procedure,” Griffith said.

According to Griffith, patients with Parkinson’s get worse each year. As they get worse they lose their function.

“If patients undergo deep brain stimulation sooner in their disease process, then they will do better over a longer period of time,” Griffith said.

For Goodman, he is grateful to be able to do those simple tasks again that he used to take for granted.

“It’s really magical. It really is. To be able to perform things that you couldn’t do before the operation,” Goodman said.

Saint Luke's is one of a handful of hospitals in the nation that does the Asleep Deep Brain Stimulation procedure. 

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