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Conditions We Treat: Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive, degenerative disorder that first attacks the motor system — the parts of the brain and nerves that allow movement — and then goes on to affect thinking, mood and autonomic functions of the body such as heart rate and digestion. The Neuromodulation and Advanced Treatments Center offers state-of-the-art treatments to address Parkinson’s disease symptoms, including deep brain stimulation (DBS) and levodopa infusion therapies.

 

Treatment for Parkinson's Disease: Why Choose Johns Hopkins?

elderly man with cane ascending staircase

The Johns Hopkins Neurostimulation and Advanced Treatments Center gives you access to the newest and most effective therapies for Parkinson’s disease, including

  • DBS focusing on multiple brain targets (both stereotactic and MRI-guided procedures)
  • Minimally invasive laser surgery to address brain lesions
  • Carbidopa/levodopa infusion therapy
  • Research-based treatments such as transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to address depression and cognitive problems
  • Other new therapies as they become available, including clinical trials

Parkinson's Disease Treatment: What to Expect

Our goals are aligned with yours: the best possible Parkinson’s disease symptom control with the least amount of disruption to your life.

As a patient of the Neuromodulation and Advanced Treatments Center, you start with a multi-disciplinary evaluation by our specialists in neurosurgery, neurology, neuropsychology, and psychiatry. Together, they discuss the individual aspects of how Parkinson’s disease is affecting you, and apply a personalized medicine approach to designing your treatment.

As we learn about you and the impact of Parkinson’s on your quality of life, we ensure that you and your family or care partner gain a realistic insight into what various treatments can and cannot do, along with honest expertise to support your decisions.

Your treatment plan may include the following:

Medications

Drugs and drug combinations can address the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, and everyone responds to these agents differently. You and your team will work together to find the most appropriate agent and delivery system (pump, infusion, fast-acting injection, etc.) or help adjust the type or delivery system of medications you are already taking.

Surgery

Though it will not halt the progression of Parkinson’s disease in the brain, surgery may help control the symptoms and improve your quality of life.

The DBS procedure involves making one or more small openings in the skull and in the covering of the brain, inserting one or more leads, or electrodes, and guiding them to very specific areas of the brain. The leads connect with an insulated wire to a very small neurostimulator that the surgeon places in your abdomen or chest. The neurostimulator sends an electrical signal to the leads, and this helps control motor symptoms such as tremor, stiffness or slowness of movement.

Other surgical procedures include minimally invasive laser surgery such as laser interstitial thermal therapy (LiTT), which can treat areas in the brain that govern movement.

Our surgical facilities are equipped with integrated systems for real-time MRI during surgery, and robotic assistance technology for state-of-the-art precision in lesion mapping and electrode placement.

Dr. Kelly Mills, M.D.
Kelly Mills, M.D., Co-Director of the Neuromodulation and Advanced Treatments Center

Meet Our DBS and Advanced Treatments Experts

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