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Definition and General Data

Deep brain stimulation is a surgical procedure in which special probes are placed into the brain. The surgery can have one or two stages and it is performed either under general or local anesthesia. MRI is always used in order to precise determinate the desirable target within brain. After the specific place on implantation is detected the patient is taken to operating room table. The very procedure requires the usage of stereotactic frame and a tiny hole of average 14 mm is made in the skull. After reaching the brain the electrodes are placed onto the specific spot and after that they are clipped to the bones of the skull by a specially designed fastening gadget. According to the disease and the goal of the therapy electrodes may be placed into thalamus, subthalamus or globus pallidus.

Complications Related to the Inserted Device

Some patients experience side effects of general or local anesthesia. Complications may occur as a result of placement of electrodes and additional components into the brain. The insertion may lead to brain hemorrhage of both the skull and intracranial structures. The worst possible consequence connected to bleeding is a stroke. Brain hemorrhage and consequent edema are serious and urgent conditions which requite prompt surgical care.

The wound can get infected after the surgery and to reduce the risk of postoperative infection all the patients who have undergone the deep brain stimulation surgery are administered antibiotics. Infection may result in a necessity of removal of some components which will then be placed back after the infection has healed.

Some parts or components may break or wires may deattach. This requires the additional repair. The batteries that are used in stimulation may expire within a period of three to five years and then they are replaced with new ones.

In rather rare occasional the skin may be perforated by the system. This happens as a result of the very small amount of soft tissue and only skin present at the place of the insertion. Even the wire may be dislocated due to its breakage. Still this does not happen very often.

Complications of Deep Brain Stimulation This surgical approach may be helpful and effective in certain medical cases. On the other hand the neuropsychiatric side effects are rather probable.

Some side effects like hallucinations, confusion of apathy have already been reported. Even depression and increased sexuality may be a consequence of deep brain stimulation surgery. No matter what side effect occurs it is mostly connected with the improper insertion of the simulation or its inadequate adjustment. Numbness in facial area or in upper or lower extremities has been reported. The muscles of arms and legs may be rigid or weak. Problems with walking and stability are potential as well. Eye problems includes double vision.

One study reported problems with decision-making. It may also be possible that a patient will face difficulties with learning and problems regarding attention. There were even suicidal tendencies. Some of the side effects are reversible while others stay for life.

If by any chance electrodes move from the original place of insertion there may be some severe changes in personality.

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