Group of staff accepting Leapfrog award

Treatment for tremor, stiffness, and slow movements

Ted Chris Horn calls himself an ambassador of deep brain stimulation (DBS) therapy for people like him who have Parkinson’s disease (PD). Diagnosed with PD in 2013, the Fort Myers Beach resident suffered from tremors, memory loss, and muscle spasms, which are common symptoms of the disease.

“I tried medication to manage the PD, but I got bad nausea and the dry heaves,” Ted says. “I had to stop taking it. My symptoms continued to get worse. I couldn’t brush my teeth, I couldn’t write with a pen. My right hand was shaking like a leaf.”

Ted’s neurologist referred him to neurosurgeon Saman Javedan, M.D., who suggested him as a candidate for DBS. “Deep brain stimulation is a procedure that controls tremor, stiffness, and slow movements in people with Parkinson’s disease,” Dr. Javedan explains. “The therapy delivers a small electrical current to a very specific part of the brain continuously, relieving tremor, stiffness, and other symptoms.”

After learning all he could about the treatment, Ted decided to go for it. “I had nothing to lose,” he says. “The procedure was painless. I had no bleeding and no swelling. Dr. Javedan cleared me to go home from Gulf Coast Medical Center the day after my surgery.”

“Many patients with essential tremor and Parkinson’s disease are eligible for the procedure,” Dr. Javedan says. “The patients who benefit the most from the procedure are like Ted, whose quality of life is compromised by tremor, stiffness, and movement fluctuations.”

A few days after Ted’s surgery, he says his right hand felt like it was back to normal. “If you saw me in a coffee shop, holding a cup of coffee, you would never know I have Parkinson’s disease,” Ted says “My hand doesn’t tremble anymore. It’s unbelievable.”

Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS)

  • One or more insulated wires, called leads or electrodes, are placed in the brain.
  • A neurostimulator, which delivers the electric current. Similar to a heart pacemaker, it’s usually placed under the skin near the collarbone.

The therapy can be programmed to different settings depending on the changing needs of the patient. “Patients should explore this treatment option when they’re first diagnosed with either Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, or when other movement-related symptoms begin to affect their quality of life,” Dr. Javedan says. “So many patients who receive DBS therapy tell us they wish they’d known about it and received the therapy sooner.”

Saman Javedan, M.D., FAANS
Lee Physician Group
13685 Doctor’s Way
Suite 350
Fort Myers, FL 33912

Tags: Neurology, neurosciences, movement disorders, Parkinson's Disease, deep brain stimulator, DBS