Breakthrough surgery at Dublin hospital

Friday 24 April 2009 20.13
Surgery - Three patients in Ireland given DBS treatment
Surgery - Three patients in Ireland given DBS treatment

Breakthrough surgery in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease has been performed at the Mater Private Hospital in Dublin.

The deep brain stimulation treatment stops severe tremors associated with Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor and dystonia.

Up to now patients had to travel abroad to have deep brain stimulation performed, but collaboration between the Mater Private and the Dublin Neurological Institute has led to three patients being successfully treated in Ireland to date.

The treatment, which is suitable for some patients, can help ease symptoms such as severe tremor, slowness of movements, compromise of balance, and muscle rigidity.

It involves inserting a small device which sends mild electrical impulses to specific parts of the brain to block the signals that cause the tremors associated with Parkinson's disease.

In most cases the effects disappear.

Consultant neurologist Prof Tim Lynch was the first to propose bringing the treatment to Ireland, leading to extensive consultation with experts in Britain.

The surgery is being delivered for the first time in an Irish hospital and is being viewed as a significant development.