LAHORE: The doctors at Lahore General Hospital have introduced ‘deep brain stimulation’ (DBS) surgery for those living with Parkinson’s disease, creating hope for such patients.

The DBS is said to be a rare procedure not available in any other public sector hospital of the country. The LGH doctors performed successful surgeries on two patients using the technique.

“The DBS is a neurosurgery procedure involving the implantation of a medical device called a ‘brain pacemaker’, which sends electrical impulses through implanted electrodes to specific parts of brain (brain nucleus) for the treatment of movement and affective disorders”, senior neurosurgeon Prof Dr Anjum Habib Vohra told the media on Saturday.

He said Shakeel Ahmed, a resident of Sheikhupura, underwent DBS surgery for which funds were provided by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

“Young professor of surgery Dr Khalid Mahmood of LGH who has got special training from US and UK for this kind of procedure conducted these DBS operations”, Prof Vohra said, adding that the success of these complicated operations was a good news for the patients who had no option other than going abroad for such procedure.

Prof Vohra, who is also principal of the Post Graduate Medical Institute (PGMI), said the Punjab government had provided a Rs50 million grant for the purchase of specialised equipment for the LGH for conducting DBS procedure. He said Dr Khalid Mahmood would now be available to attend such patients at the LGH and hence they would not have to go abroad for treatment of Parkinson and muscular pain.

He said although the treatment was very expensive in Pakistan as it costs Rs2 million, this cost was only 20pc of expenses in foreign countries. He said the operation took about six to nine hours.

Prof Vohra said the LGH had been receiving a large number of patients for specialised surgeries from all over the country and about 5,000 operations for head injury and neurology were being conducted here annually.

Prof Khalid Mahmood told the media that symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include shaking of legs, arms and hands and patients felt stress in their legs. In its acute form, it became difficult for patients to keep their head still, he said, adding that such patients become dependent for the rest of their life.

While explaining the process of DBS operation, he said very delicate electrodes connected with a battery were installed in small holes drilled on both sides of the head of a patient. “The battery is placed under the skin in the chest of the patient which works like a heart pacemaker”, he said.

Published in Dawn, November 2nd, 2014

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