More than 50 DBS experts -- including world-renowned neurologists, clinicians and surgeons -- pooled their experience with the procedure and reached a consensus, presented in the Archives of Neurology. Among their findings:
- The best candidates for DBS are those who can't tolerate the side effects of medications, who don't suffer from significant active cognitive or psychiatric problems, and who do suffer from tremors and/or motor fluctuations.
- DBS surgery is best performed by an experienced team and neurosurgeon with expertise in stereotactic neurosurgery -- microsurgery deep within the brain that is based on a three-dimensional coordinate system using advanced neuroimaging.
- DBS, when used in the two most commonly treated areas of the brain -- the subthalamic nuclei and the globus pallidus pars interna -- is effective in addressing the motor symptoms of Parkinson's, but treatment in the subthalamic nuclei may cause increased depression and other symptoms in some patients.
- Surgical removal of the area of the brain causing Parkinson's disease is still an effective alternative and should be considered in patients.
- Surgical complication rates vary widely, with infection being the most commonly reported complication of DBS.