Avera Medical Minute: Deep Brain Stimulation helps Parkinson’s patients with tremors

Published: Nov. 2, 2021 at 8:25 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Parkinson’s Disease is a neurodegenerative brain disorder without a cure.

Parkinson’s can cause a person to experience tremors that progressively get worse over time.

Vance Neuberger is living with tremors in both of hands, that have gotten worse over the years.

“It’s inherited. My father had it. While he lived to be 95, he got so bad towards the end of his life, he ate most of his meals through a straw. and knowing my situation, I didn’t want to get to that point.”

Vance has taken medication to help with the symptoms of Parkinson’s without many results.

He recently opted for a treatment option called “Deep Brain Stimulation.”

The surgical implant is designed to help lessen the severity of his tremors.

So far, Vance says it is working.

“It’s almost unbelievable, the results. When the tremor is to the point where you can’t hold onto a cup of coffee without spilling it, you can’t imagine until you’ve had the surgery, had the treatment as to how successful it can be,” said Neuberger.

Avera clinical neurologist Dr. Andrew Ridder explains how Deep Brain Stimulation works.

“It is an electrical device, kind of a pacemaker device that’s in your chest. And then wires go up around, underneath your skin, through the scalp and down into a deep part of your brain. We do some electrical stimulation that’s always on, and that can dramatically improve tremors and many other aspects of Parkinson’s disease,” said Dr. Ridder.

The surgery is typically done in two phases on each side of the brain.

Vance chose to undergo his first operation on the left side of his bran, which controls the right side of his body.

“I’ve gone from not being able to carry a cup of coffee across the room, where now, my right hand and arm are quite steady and when I write my name, you can actually read it!” said Neuberger.

Vance will undergo his second procedure in November.

He says this surgery has drastically changed his life and he’s looking forward to life with fewer tremors.

“I like to do things with my hands, and now after I get the other side done, things that I haven’t done for several years, because I can’t control my hand movement, I’m going to be able to do again,” said Neuberger.

Dr. Ridder says the surgery for Deep Brain Stimulation does carry some risks and the procedure might not be right for some patients.

For more information, visit

Copyright 2021 Dakota News Now. All rights reserved.