Essential tremor is a brain disorder that causes a part of your body to shake uncontrollably. The unintentional shaking motion is called a tremor. The hands and forearms are the most commonly affected areas. However, the other parts of the body can also be affected (Head, face, tongue, neck, torso, legs, and feet).
Other medical conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, can cause tremors. With essential tremor, however, there’s no known underlying condition that triggers the tremors. The tremors can begin at any age, but they most commonly affect older people. It isn’t life-threatening and doesn’t cause any serious health problems, although the shaking may make daily activities, such as eating and drinking, difficult.
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a surgical procedure in which two thin, insulated electrodes are placed in the brain. These electrodes are then connected by a wire under the skin to a battery that is usually implanted in the chest or abdomen. The battery works similarly to a pacemaker, on a principle that blocks signals that cause flickering, providing electrical impulses to the targeted area.
Electrodes are usually implanted while the patient is awake. The patient's skin is anesthetized with local anesthesia. Thus, patients do not feel pain. The brain, which does not contain the pain receptors itself, does not feel pain anyway.
Patients treated with DBS for essential tremor or other tremors usually show improvement within the first few hours. Some patience is required to optimize the treatment, which requires several programming sessions. Treatments are different for everyone, and therefore each person reacts differently to stimuli.
When the DBS system is activated and the following programming after surgery, the best result may not be achieved the first time. Patients should be made aware that they will have to undergo frequent programming sessions in the early stages to achieve the best clinical improvement for the targeted treatment of symptoms.