Innovative Procedure Helps Cure Woman Suffering from Two Decades of Tremors

Doctors in the Functional Surgery Program of the Zvi Weinroth Department of Neurosurgery at Shaare Zedek’s Helmsley Neurological Institute have recently begun embracing a new surgical approach called Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS). The method helps address tremors related to a variety of neurological conditions.

The DBS team at Shaare Zedek is led by Dr. David Hazon, a senior neurosurgeon, together with Dr. Nevo Margalit, Director of Neurosurgery and Dr. Alon Mogliner, a neurosurgery specialist who also works at NYU hospital in New York. The team closely collaborates closely with our Movement Disorders Unit directed by Dr. Gilad Yahalom.

In a recent case, the team treated a 70-year-old Jerusalem woman who has been suffering for over 20 years from Essential Tremors, a common symptom of neurological disease that results in shaking in the upper limbs, head, and the vocal cords. In the case of this patient, her condition had deteriorated to the point where she had very limited functioning and pharmaceutical intervention was unable to adequately address the tremors.

Dr. Hazon explained, “In the case of functional neurosurgery procedures like DBS, we rely on very precise application of electrodes deep in the brain. The surgery relied on a new generation of machinery developed by Abbott together with a navigation system from Alpha Omega Engineering that allows us to very precisely target the area in question and ensure that the electrodes are placed exactly where needed. After implanting the electrodes, the pacemaker is inserted into the thoracic cavity to provide the electronic source for the electrodes.

The procedure went very well and in the follow up scans everything appeared in excellent order. The patient was able to go home 48 hours later in good condition. Her follow up examination showed everything to be progressing as planned and when the electrode was activated we saw a definite improvement in her functioning. It is a great source of pride to be able to provide this type of life-altering care and we look forward to embracing new methodologies for treating neurological diseases .We are hopeful that in the future these approaches may even benefit patients with conditions like depression and anxiety.”

Dr. Gilad Yahalom, who directs the Shaare Zedek for Movement Disorders explains, “Essential Tremor is common in both younger and older patients, men and women alike. Often as a patient reaches their seventies, we can see a significant increase in the level of shaking. Unlike in Parkinson’s where the tremor is most often seen while resting, in the case of Essential Tremor it occurs while using one’s hands.

We pursue this type of a procedure when other pharmaceutical measures aren’t effective, and the tremor is truly taking over the patient’s life and the patient has an appropriate level of cognitive functioning. For this patient, the shaking in her hand improved to the level that she is now able to completely function with almost no limitations.”

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