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Deep Brain Stimulation

Joshua Klemp, M.D., a Providence neurosurgeon, has a special interest in treating patients with Parkinson's disease and essential tremor with Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS). Dr. Klemp has experience with DBS through his residency at the University of Kansas Medical Center where he saw a high volume of these cases.

DBS therapy is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat the movement symptoms of Parkinson's disease and essential tremor, including shaking, stiffness and difficulty moving. The procedure is relatively new to the Kansas City area, but has been around for about a decade. More than 100,000 patients worldwide have received DBS therapy for Parkinson's disease and essential tremor.

During DBS surgery, a small, pacemaker-like device is placed under the skin in the chest (not in the brain). Very thin wires connect the device to the patient's brain, allowing electronic signals to be sent to an area in the brain that controls movement. These signals block some of the messages to the brain that cause annoying and disabling shaking or tremors.

Following the procedure, the doctor adjusts the settings to optimize the therapy for the specific patient. Getting the initial settings adjusted correctly for the patient may take several sessions. Over time, the settings can be adjusted as symptoms change.

Most people don't feel the stimulation at all as it reduces their symptoms. Some people may feel a brief tingling when the stimulation is first tuned on.

A few weeks after the procedure, the patient can return to normal daily activities.

DBS extends the control patients receive from their medication for movement symptoms of Parkinson's disease. As a result, most patients take less medication. In a clinical study, by six months, DBS had reduced medication-related side effects by 44 percent.

For more information about deep brain stimulation or Providence Medical Group Neurosurgery, call 913-955-3300.