Shaare Zedek Medical Center treats Parkinsons patients using DBS for first time

Deep Brain Stimulation surgery, known as DBS, is meant to stop tremors in Parkinson's, primary tremors and other neurological diseases.

Shaare Zedek Medical Center. (photo credit: COURTESY SHAARE ZEDEK)
Shaare Zedek Medical Center.

Surgeons at Shaare Zedek Medical Center have performed neurosurgery on a patient with Parkinson's disease using a Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) procedure – marking a first for the Israeli hospital and a breakthrough for the treatment of Parkinson's disorder, the hospital announced Monday.

DBS surgery is meant to stop tremors in Parkinson's, primary tremors and other neurological diseases. DBS, which was approved by the FDA as a treatment for essential tremor and Parkinson's disease in 1997, is seen as a revolutionary way to treat people with Parkinson’s and other nerve disorders that begin in the brain. 

With the help of the newest generation equipment from the Abbott company and a special navigation device from the Alpha Omega company, Shaare Zedek researchers have finally implemented DBS procedures in their facilities. 

Shaare Zedek’s first DBS procedure

 Parkinson's disease (illustrative) (credit: INGIMAGE) Parkinson's disease (illustrative) (credit: INGIMAGE)

Shaare Zedek’s first DBS candidate was a 70-year-old from Jerusalem who has suffered from essential tremor syndrome – a disease that causes the development of tremors mainly in the upper limbs, head, neck and vocal cords – for over 20 years. The patient had deteriorated to a point that even the medicines he was prescribed to treat his condition stopped being effective.

According to the Head of Shaare Zedek’s Movement Disorders Unit, Dr. Gilad Yahalom, essential tremor is common in the population regardless of age or gender. However, there may be a noticeable decline in the patient’s condition once they reach 70 years of age. 

The stage at which surgery is decided upon is the moment when the disorder significantly affects the patient’s quality of life and after attempts at treatment with drugs have been exhausted, Yahalom continued.

"In functional neurosurgery of the DBS type – Deep brain stimulation, which is performed while awake – it is very important to accurately position the electrodes that are implanted deep in the brain,” explains Dr. David Hazon, who performed Shaare Zedek’s first DBS surgery.

Shaare Zedek reported that the patient’s surgery went well and that the result of imaging tests was satisfactory. The patient was discharged home 48 hours later in good condition, bringing Shaare Zedek hope that this crucial procedure is the first of many conducted at Shaare Zedek.