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Joshua Klemp, M.D., a Providence Medical Center neurosurgeon, has a special interest in treating patients with Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor with Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS). Dr. Klemp has experience with DBS through his residency at the University of Kansas Medical Center where he saw a high volume of these cases.

DBS therapy is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat the movement symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor, including shaking, stiffness and difficulty moving. The procedure is relatively new to the Kansas City area, but has been practiced elsewhere for about a decade. More than 100,000 patients worldwide have received DBS therapy for Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor.

During DBS surgery, a small, pacemaker-like device is placed under the skin in the chest (not in the brain). Very thin wires connect the device to the patient’s brain, allowing electronic signals to be sent to an area in the brain that controls movement. These signals block some of the messages to the brain that cause annoying and disabling shaking or tremors.

Following the procedure, the doctor adjusts the settings to optimize the therapy for the specific patient. Getting the initial settings adjusted correctly for the patient may take several sessions. Over time, the settings can be adjusted as symptoms change.

Most people don’t feel the stimulation at all as it reduces their symptoms although some people may feel a brief tingling when the stimulation is first tuned on. This innovative treatment has been life changing for patients.

Dr. Klemp points to a recent clinical study which has shown that with the assistance of DBS, patients have been able to reduce medication for tremor control. In fact, the study indicated that after six months of DBS treatment, the medication-related side effects for these patients had been reduced by 44 percent, giving them a much better quality of life.

Most importantly, a few weeks after the procedure the patient can return to their normal activities.

For more information about deep brain stimulation or Providence Medical Group Neurosurgery, call 913-955-3300