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Mumbai’s Dr Gurneet Singh Sawhney shares his views on Deep brain stimulation surgery

Deep brain stimulation – DBS surgery is a treatment recommended to improve the quality of life in patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease, dystonia, essential tremors, and some psychiatric disorders.

Patients with Parkinson’s disease and other neurological conditions display slow movement, rigidity, tremors, and involuntary rhythmic tremors of the hands and arms upon rest or during movement. Also, the patient may shake their head in a ‘no-no’ motion. Patients with movement disorders feel low confidence, insecure and have to depend on others for normal living.

Deep brain stimulation surgery involves brain surgery to implant the electrodes in the brain tissue by making small holes in the skull and to implant the battery-operated device under the skin in the chest.

Dr  Gurneet Singh Sawhney is one of Mumbai’s leading and dynamic neurosurgeons and Senior Consultant, Neuro and Spine Surgery at the Fortis Hospital, Mulund. He is a distinguished neurosurgeon with nearly 17+ years of experience treating neurological disorders. 

He is an expert in Functional Neurosurgery, Stereotactic Surgery, Neuro-oncology, Neuroendoscopy, Vasacular Neurosurgery, Neurotrauma and various allied treatments. He has been recognised for his expertise in neurosurgery many times, the most recent being one of the Top Neurosurgeons in Mumbai by India Today, 2022. His other prestigious recognitions include the Most Promising Neurosurgeon in Maharashtra in 2016 and the Most Preferred Top Neurosurgeon in Mumbai from Dynergic Business Solutions in 2021.

Dr Gurneet Singh Sawhney, Mumbai’s leading neurosurgeon, states that DBS is a very specialised procedure and needs careful evaluation by a multidisciplinary team of a neurosurgeon, neurologist, and neuropsychologist to ascertain its positive and negative outcomes in terms of which symptoms are likely to improve or along with additional benefits if any.

Similarly, the likelihood of a negative outcome of the procedure also has to be considered. Also, this procedure is considered only when dedicated efforts to adjust the dosage and the timings of the medications to reduce the intensity of movement disorders have been unsuccessful.

Most neurosurgeons recommend it only if it is likely to reduce the intensity of the symptoms and medicine dosage. DBS effectively reduces dyskinesias, the uncontrolled wiggling movements caused by high doses of levodopa medication.

Research conducted after deep brain stimulation surgery shows a reduction in symptoms of slowness of movements, tremors, and rigidity in approximately 70% of patients. In addition, hand, head and voice tremors reduce significantly in about 60 – 90% of patients with essential tremors. Most patients have expressed a boost in their confidence and capacity to undertake normal tasks.

However, Dr Gurneet Singh Sawhney cautions patients and their family members against setting high expectations after the DBS surgery and optimising the implants which can take considerable time.  It is necessary to monitor the progression of the neurological conditions, medicine dosage and therapies.

Over a period which could extend up to six months or even more, the patient’s quality of life will improve, and they will feel better. Hence, DBS surgeries focus on better and long-term management of Parkinson’s disease.

A successful DBS surgery depends upon choosing the most suitable brain area for stimulation and precise positions for implanting the electrodes, followed by accurate programming and medication. Hence, patients and their family members should be cautious in choosing an expert and experienced neurosurgeon to perform the DBS surgery. 

Dr Gurneet Singh Sawhney is a prolific neurosurgeon who can converse in nearly 10+ languages. He has a knack of pacifying anxious patients and their family members while reassure them of hoping for best possible outcomes of neurosurgery and its related treatments.

Dr Gurneet Singh Sawhney is available for consultation at Fortis Hospital, Mulund, and at Neurolife Brain & Spine Clinic, his private clinic at Mulund, Mumbai. He is also available at Savla Diagnostic Center and Polyclinic, Chembur and Baba Jeewan Singh Ji Memorial Medical Centre (Charitable) at Sion, Koliwada, Mumbai He can be reached at gurneetsawhney@gmail.com and  +91 8104310753.

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