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Deep Brain Stimulation at St. Vincent Healthcare Helps Patient Adjust to Life Without Parkinson's Side Effects

March 24, 2011

Due to Parkinson's Disease, Larry Leininger had trouble walking. After struggling with the disease for 12 years and being unsatisfied with what he perceived as a lack of solid healthcare direction, he scheduled an appointment with St. Vincent Healthcare neurosurgeon Dr. Stuart Goodman to discuss his health and treatment options.

Dr. Goodman prescribed to Leininger a unique procedure and service only offered at St. Vincent Healthcare - Deep Brain Stimulation. Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) Therapy uses an implanted medical device, similar to a cardiac pacemaker to deliver precise electrical pulses to specific targets in the brain that are involved in chronic neurological disorders. The therapy is both adjustable and reversible and is approved for treating the symptoms of Parkinson's disease, essential tremor, dystonia and obsessive-compulsive disorders.

"Larry Leininger is typical of patients with Parkinson's Disease, Essential Tremor, or Dystonia who have exhausted their medical management. Patients may have intractable tremors or other motor manifestations such as rigidity and freezing or suffer the cumulated side effects of the medications, called dyskinesias- which are involuntary writhing and wiggling movements. On average, candidates for deep brain stimulation have carried the diagnosis and managed their disease medically for years. Many of these patients may benefit from electrical stimulation of certain structures of the brain," said Dr. Goodman.

Leininger started with an implantation on his right side. Six months later, he had DBS performed on his left side due to some unresolved tremors. He credits the St. Vincent Operating Room staff with adding to his comfort level and said, "One of Dr. Goodman's nurses held my hand during the operation; that made such a difference to me."

Recovery time was minimal, and Leininger has stated that although he still experiences some loss of balance, he is doing better after having this procedure. The procedure left him with no pain and he has since been able to discontinue all of his Parkinson's medications as a result. As Leininger tells it, "I forgot a guy could feel so good. I would do this again in a heartbeat."