Good Samaritan neurosurgeon Daniel Lieberman, MD, has performed the surgery on numerous patients and says that the results are dramatic and instantaneous."Essential Tremor is the result of abnormal, rhythmical activation of an electrical circuit within the brain," said Dr. Lieberman, who serves as director of the Good Samaritan Movement Disorders Clinic.
"By placing a deep brain stimulating electrode the tremor circuit can essentially be 'jammed,' or interrupted, and the tremors stop.
"For most people who have undergone this surgery, their lives were greatly improved.The hard part is localizing the tremor circuit," Lieberman
In order to precisely localize the tremor circuit within the brain, patients undergo a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan with their head fixed in a metal ring.The location of the nucleus containing the tremor circuit is calculated in the brain to within a millimeter using a computer to analyze the MRI scan.
Surgery to implant the deviceThe patient is then taken to the operating room, where Medtronic Activa® Tremor Control System is inserted into the brain through a hole drilled in the skull, and the electrical activity of neurons - the nerve cells that make up the brain - is recorded.Neurons in the brain are organized into a spatial map of the body.
uses this map to localize the best location for the stimulator.
"Everyone's brain is wired up a little bit differently," says Dr. Lieberman
."At Good Samaritan we have the best tools available, like microelectrode recording and MRI stereotactic guidance to assist the surgeon.
"Since the bottom line is stopping the tremor, we do these procedures with the patient awake.The stimulator is activated once it is placed.When the stimulator is in the right place, the tremor stops immediately," Lieberman
continued. Dr. Lieberman
is also conducting a clinical trial using deep brain stimulation of the subthlamic nucleus for the medical treatment of Parkinson's disease. Good Samaritan's
Movement Disorders Clinic features a multi-disciplinary team of neurosurgeons, neurologists, pharmacists and therapists that can aid patients and community physicians by providing a thorough assessment of each patient and make concrete, practical suggestions to help patients and their caretakers improve their quality of life.
Last updated: 11/7/2001