Deep Brain Stimulation corrects uncontrollable shaking

More than 13,000 people in South Texas suffer from movement disorders like Parkinson TMs and Essential Tremors.

For some, tremors can cause embarrassment and depression leading many to avoid social situations.

Isabel TMs story

Isabel Muniz noticed from a very early age that her hands would shake.

It was not until she was in her early 20s that a doctor diagnosed her with Essential Tremors, a condition that causes her to shake when she grasps objects.

Although she loves coffee she often avoided drinking it because tremors would cause her to spill.

Before I couldn TMt hold a cup of coffee like this, Muniz said as she held a steaming cup of coffee still.

Up until last October Muniz learned to live with her condition, until she went through a surgery that changed her life.

I had seen online the outcome of the surgery and there was never a doubt in my mind whether I wanted the surgery, Muniz said.

Muniz had surgery to place a Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) device into her body.

Implanting the device

Neurologist Dr. Gabriel Diaz said DBS is not for everyone but Muniz was the perfect candidate.

It TMs the most crucial part of the procedure, to select the proper candidate, the surgery is mostly successful if the right patient is selected, Dr. Diaz said.

DBS is a viable option for patients who are no longer reacting well to medications, which are normally the first line of treatment.

Many people prefer the surgery because it is adjustable and reversible.

Doctors surgically implant a medical device known as a neurostimulator into either the stomach or the chest. Wires are then placed under the skin that lead up to the brain.

It TMs like a pacemaker for the brain, it blocks abnormal currents inside the brain," Dr. Diaz said.

The patient can turn the device on or off with a remote control outside of the body.

It TMs here and it TMs going to stay forever because it TMs a very effective procedure, Dr. Diaz said.

DBS treatment comes to the Valley

The Edinburg Regional Medical Center is the second hospital in the Rio Grande Valley to offer the surgery.

Hospital administrators invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to train staff and purchase equipment.

Since the hospital began offering the DBS surgery back in October, about two patients a month receive the implanted devices.

Surgery changes lives

Muniz said her DBS device has greatly improved the quality of her life.

Even now I find myself doing things and I TMll get choked up and think a year ago I couldn TMt do this, Muniz said.

She said her children are astounded at how the device has corrected her uncontrollable shaking.

He (Muniz son) knows it TMs good, but it TMs strange to him, because that TMs not what he knew his entire life, Muniz said. I get a tear in my eye, I thank God I had this surgery.