Portsmouth Regional Hospital is Only Seacoast Provider of DBS

Portsmouth, New Hampshire – Portsmouth Regional Hospital is the only facility on the Seacoast, one of only two in New Hampshire, to offer deep brain stimulation for patients with tremor and motion disorders.

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a treatment used to reduce tremor and block involuntary movements in patients with motion disorders. Small electric signals are delivered to render parts of the brain inactive without damaging or destroying healthy brain tissue.

In patients with Parkinson’s disease, a neurostimulator is surgically implanted to deliver electrical stimulation to the areas of the brain that control movement, blocking the abnormal nerve signals that cause tremor. Doctors use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scans to identify exact locations within the brain where electrical nerve signals trigger the Parkinson’s symptoms.

“Because there is no cure for Parkinson’s, we focus on ways to slow the onset of symptoms and help patients with what symptoms we can – focusing on quality of life,” said Gareth Davies, MD, a neurosurgeon at Portsmouth Regional Hospital. “This treatment is a breakthrough – offering patients a return to normal activities without the constant interruptions of tremors and jerky movements. Walking, drinking a glass of water, hugging loved ones, reading a newspaper… we get to give those back.”

Portsmouth Regional Hospital added its DBS offering this year, following great success with patients at major medical centers around the country. A team consists of a neurosurgeon, a neurologist, a physical therapist, and an occupational therapist. Patients will have a pre-surgical visit for imaging, an overnight stay after surgery, and a visit to program the device once it is implanted. DBS is approved for patients whose symptoms cannot adequately be controlled with medications. Although most patients will still need medication after undergoing DBS, many have experienced a considerable reduction of their Parkinson’s symptoms and are able to significantly reduce their medications and some of the side effects that accompany the higher doses.

DBS can also be helpful to patients with essential tremor, dystonia, and multiple sclerosis.

Photo Courtesy: Michael J. Fox Foundation