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Dr. Kara Beasley on Parkinson's disease: 'DBS allows you to live better every day'

Dr. Kara Beasley on Parkinson's disease: 'DBS allows you to live better every day'

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is one of the most common movement disorders, with approximately 60,000 Americans diagnosed each year. Often, medications can greatly control symptoms. But when they fail to provide consistent and adequate symptom relief, Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) can help control your symptoms and enable you to live a more active lifestyle.

"Deep brain stimulation is one of those tools that allows you to live better every day," said board-certified neurosurgeon Kara Beasley, DO, MBA, MBE, FACOS, as she described DBS—an advanced, minimally invasive surgical treatment for Parkinson’s disease—during a free online health lecture.


Watch Advanced Treatment for Parkinson's Disease  


The DBS journey

​DBS is a brain surgery that involves implanting a device often described as a “pacemaker for the brain.” An implanted electrode delivers electrical stimulation to structures involved in the control of movement within either the:

  • Subthalamic nucleus
  • Globus pallidus Interna

Sophisticated imaging and software enable precise targeting for optimal outcomes and minimal risk. Your doctor will determine which target is best for you.

“There are two stages to DBS surgery. In the first stage, the surgeon implants electrodes on specific areas of either one side or both sides of the brain,” Dr. Beasley explained. “In the second stage, the neurosurgeon implants a pacemaker-like neurostimulator under the skin, near the collarbone, and connects it to the electrodes with long lead wires passed under the skin and along the neck. The stimulator sends constant electrical impulses to the electrodes, which modulate the abnormal signals responsible for the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s.”

Advanced programming and optimization

Every brain is different, making the programming of your device after the procedure a very important step in your DBS journey. Traditional programming and optimization of a DBS system can take time and requires patience. However, our Advanced Image Guided Programming was designed to improve this programming process. Using your brain images collected during your DBS procedure, Image Guided Programming provides the physician with the ability to visualize the location of your leads. By visualizing the exact location of your leads in your brain, your physician can take the trial and error out of your DBS programming.

    What are the benefits of DBS?

    Dr. Beasley stated that although it won’t slow the progression of PD, DBS can significantly reduce the symptoms of tremor, rigidity, slowness of movement, and some types of gait dysfunction.

    When to consider DBS Therapy

    DBS therapy involves a series of evaluations, procedures and consultations before and after the actual surgery. Patients interested in DBS should be prepared to commit time to the process.

    PD patients who typically benefit from DBS are those:

    • responsive to Levodopa medication or tremor refractory;
    • not adequately controlled with medication; and,
    • have motor complications (dyskinesias and/or motor fluctuations) for a minimum of four months (recent onset) or longer standing.

    To schedule an appointment with Kara Beasley, DO, call Boulder Neurosurgical and Spine Associates of BCH at 303-938-5700.

    Click here to view/download a PDF of Dr. Beasley's slides shown during "Advanced treatment for Parkinson's Disease."

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