Deep Brain Stimulation Testimonial
April 14, 2017
Deep Brain Stimulation ‘Definitely Worth It’
Cheyenne resident Jim Hagar was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2007. Over the next few years, the tremors he experienced due to the disease would make it increasingly difficult for him to get around and do the things he enjoyed.
“I hadn’t given up, and I didn’t think of myself as disabled. But it was still hard,” Jim explained. “I was shaking all the time and wanted to do something before things got worse.”
In 2016 Jim’s neurologist recommended that he consult with Dr. Claudio Feler, a neurosurgeon in practice at Neurosurgery and Spine Associates in Cheyenne. Dr. Feler performs a surgical procedure known as Deep Brain Stimulation, which is used to treat people with tremor as well as other symptoms of Parkinson’s disease such as slowed movement and walking problems.
That fall Dr. Feler and his team assessed Jim to be sure he was a good candidate for the delicate surgery.
“Deep Brain Stimulation can be a life-changing procedure for people with disabling neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor,” Dr. Feler explained. “But before we move forward, we have to be sure that the person meets the criteria for Deep Brain Stimulation and has good potential to benefit.”
After an extensive assessment, Jim was approved for the procedure.
Jim underwent three surgeries in the fall and winter of 2016, two to thread thin wire electrodes in the left and right sides of his brain, and the third to implant a small neurostimulator near Jim’s collarbone to power the electrodes.
“Deep Brain Stimulation does not damage healthy brain tissue, but instead changes electrical activity in the small nuclei of the brain that are involved in movement,” Dr. Feler explained.
When the electrodes were activated in December 2016, Jim experienced a significant stilling of his tremors. “It was a big improvement, right from the start,” Jim said.
Today Jim’s tremors are barely noticeable. “I’m in much better shape than I was before,” he said.
Jim is so pleased with the results that he offered to share his outcome at a community presentation about Deep Brain Stimulation in the spring of 2017.
“I don’t sit and shake all the time,” he told the audience. “I’m so much better off now.”
Another positive, Jim shared, is that his daily medications have been significantly reduced: “I’m down from 11½ pills per day before the procedure to just three pills per day.”
Jim concluded by saying that Deep Brain Stimulation was a good choice for him: “It’s not a cure-all,” he noted. “I still have a few tremors. But my quality of life is much better today than it was before. It was definitely worth it.”