Deep brain stimulation is a specialized treatment used for the treatment of movement disorders such as dystonia, Parkinson’s disease, and essential tremors. Recently, the use of this procedure has been shown to be highly effective in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder. It is a neurosurgical procedure that involves the placement of a device called deep brain stimulator, which sends signals to specific areas of the brain to stop the symptoms associated with a movement disorder.

Deep Brain Stimulation in Singapore

Deep brain stimulation in Singapore is conducted across all major neurosurgery hospitals. This is a highly sensitive and critical procedure that involves the placement of electrodes within specific areas of the brain that trigger symptoms associated with the motor disorder. This is the reason why this procedure must be conducted by only an experienced and skilled surgeon. Singapore is known for its brigade of highly qualified brain surgeons who are mostly educated from the best medical universities in the world.

Developed in 1987, DBS therapy is an adjustable and reversible surgical treatment which is performed when medication alone cannot adequately control the symptoms. People should make their way to Singapore if they are facing some serious movement disorders such as Dystonia, Epilepsy, Essential tremor, Obsessive-compulsive disorder, Parkinsons Disease. Singapore is a well-recognized medical destination where more than hundreds of patients have benefitted from DBS therapy. Neurodegenerative Disease in Singapore is nothing new as the country has battled against brain disorders for many years and the war is still in the light. Thus, Singapore, with its modern and advanced techniques, offers the best DBS therapy across the globe.

Treatment and Cost

15

Total Days
In Country

2 No. Travelers

5 Day in Hospital

10 Days Outside Hospital

Treatment cost starts from

USD 55000

Hospitals

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a neurosurgical procedure that involves implantation of electrodes within the specific targeted areas of the brain. It is used to treat a variety of disabling neurological symptoms. Deep brain stimulation procedure can be opted for treating a number of neurological conditions, including Parkinson's disease, Essential tremor, Dystonia, Epilepsy, Tourette syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder and chronic pain. Deep brain stimulation uses a neurostimulator, commonly referred to as deep brain stimulator,  to deliver electrical stimulation to targeted areas in the brain that control movement.

The impulse sent by deep brain stimulator interferes with and blocks the electrical signals that cause tremor and other Parkinson’s disease symptoms. The targeted areas most often include the thalamus, subthalamic nucleus and globus pallidus. Deep brain stimulation procedure has a long history of research. It was first introduced in 1987 and The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved deep brain stimulation treatment for essential tremor and Parkinson's disease in 1997.

What is deep brain stimulation treatment?

Deep brain stimulation treatment is recommended for people who have had Parkinson’s disease for at least four years, are still getting benefited from medications, but have motor complications, such as significant on-off time periods. Brain stimulation therapy works by inactivating the parts of the brain that cause Parkinson's disease symptoms. However, DBS Parkinson does not damage the healthy brain tissue by destroying nerve cells. It blocks electrical signals from targeted areas of the brain.

Deep brain stimulation treatment has proven effective in most of the cases, but it could potentially result in serious complications and side effects. This is the main reason why deep brain stimulation treatment is used only for patients whose symptoms are not appropriately controlled with medications.

During the deep brain stimulation therapy, the neurosurgeon first uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scan to identify the exact target within the brain where electrical nerve signals generate the symptoms. Some doctors may use microelectrode recording (a small wire that observes the activity of nerve cells in the target area) to more specifically and precisely identify the target in the brain that will be stimulated during the treatment.

After identifying the targets in the brain, there are several ways in which the permanent electrodes are placed into the target areas. The patient is given a local anaesthetic before the procedure, and then the neurosurgeon implants electrode by making small holes in the skull. The implanted electrodes are connected with extensions (a thin insulated wire) connected with the stimulator. These extensions are passed by some incisions under the skin of the head, neck, and shoulder. Deep brain stimulator is a battery-operated medical device similar to a heart pacemaker. It is implanted under the skin near the collarbone or in the chest.

Typically, patients need to stay in the hospital until their incision-related pain is under control, they are able to eat, drink and walk. Mostly, the patients are required to stay for only one night at the hospital after the surgery, but some patient may be advised to stay for at least two nights. The patient will not be able to shower or wet the area around the incision until the wound has completely healed. Deep brain stimulation programming takes place about 3 to 4 weeks after the surgery and this is when the actual benefits of the treatment can be reaped.

After a few weeks of surgery, the neurostimulator (IPG) is activated by a specialist. The specialist can easily program the IPG from outside the patient’s body using a special remote control. The amount of stimulation is customized as per specific needs. Stimulation may be constant or the specialist may advise to turn the IPG off at night and back on in the morning, depending on the condition of the patient. The batteries of stimulator may last for three to five years. The IPG replacement procedure is relatively simple. Inform your doctor immediately in case you experience any problems related to speech, balance, and coordination or in case you experience mood swings, numbness, muscle tightness, or lightheadedness.


There are many  benefits of deep brain stimulation, including the following:

  • It gives patients an average of five more hours of symptom-free time every day.
  • It does not involve the use of medicine and most patients are able to reduce their medication usage after they undergo treatment, which means fewer drug-induced side effects.
  • It does not reduce future therapy options. It is reversible and the stimulator can also be turned off at any time if it is causing some uncommon side effects.
  • Deep brain stimulation systems are designed so that an MRI head scan is possible with proper safeguards.
  • Brain stimulation therapy does not require purposeful destruction of any part of the brain. Therefore, it has fewer complications than other therapies such as pallidotomy and thalamotomy.
  • The electrical stimulation is adjustable and can be changed as per the patient's disease response to medications change.

Frequently Asked Questions

In Singapore, Parkinson’s disease is found in 3 out of every 1000 individuals aged 50 years and above. Usually people with such disease, undergo Deep Brain Stimulation therapy along with their ongoing medication to improve the effects, moreover, it provides smoother gaps between the doses as well. DBS therapy can improve the life of a patient by 13% to 26%, and Singapore, having a large number of PD patients, hosts the best surgical treatment of PD through Deep Brain Stimulation. With world-class medical facilities and highly-trained neurosurgeons, Singapore is considered the most ideal place for Deep Brain Stimulation therapy. Singapore had fought the battle against PD since long by providing quality and effective DBS therapy to the patients.

Singapore, being the most preferred place to get treated for movement disorders, offers the cost of deep brain stimulation around $60,000 in private practices. The noting point here is, the cost heavily depends on the hospitals chosen and the expense may get smaller in number according to the rate of hospital. Also, replacing the battery would cost $25,000 which last about five years. The implant alone has a total expense of around $36,000. Remember, the costs can vary according to the person’s illness and the stage of illness.

To treat a neurodegenerative disorder, such as tremor, Parkinson, and dystonia, Singapore boasts world-class neurosurgeons that are highly trained and hold a renowned degree in neurology. Every Top Neurosurgeon in Singapore has an outstanding and friendly approach towards patients. Below is the list of top neurosurgeons in Singapore for deep brain stimulation:

  • Dr Ivan Ng Hua Bak

  • Dr Chumpon Chantharakulpongsa

  • Dr Ernest Wang Chee Meng

  • Dr Seow Wan Tew

  • Assoc. Prof. Christopher Ang Beng Ti

  • Dr Pang Boon Chuan

  • Dr Rajendra Tiruchelvarayan

  • Dr David Low Chyi Yeu

  • Ong Peck Leong

It is estimated that there are between 4,000 to 5,000 Parkinson’s patients in Singapore and the healthcare structure in Singapore regulate in such a way that it carries out the DBS procedure carefully and much intelligently in order to cure PD. Since 1997, DBS has helped to improve the symptoms in more than 100,000 patients with some serious movement disorders worldwide, including Singapore. DBS therapy has been approved for the Essential tremor, Parkinson’s diseases, Primary dystonia, OCD, Epilepsy and holds a highly-significant success rate in Singapore. As compared to other countries, the ratio of performing DBS treatment is pretty higher and effective in Singapore.

To treat movement disorders, Singapore offers some highly-equipped hospitals with advanced technology to perform DBS surgery. You can visit Singapore’s private hospitals such as the National Neuroscience Institute which is on 11 Jalan Tan Tock Seng, and another campus is in Outram Road, Singapore. Mount Elizabeth Hospital is another renowned place for DBS surgery which is located at 38 Irrawaddy Road in Singapore.

Singapore is generally known for its well-managed health care infrastructure and has an efficient and widespread system of healthcare. Singapore was ranked 6th in the World Health Organization's ranking of the world's health systems in the year 2000. Bloomberg ranked Singapore's healthcare system the most efficient in the world in 2014. Three main healthcare groups exist in Singapore:
  • National Healthcare Group
  • National University Health System
  • SingHealth
The 10 public hospitals in Singapore comprise 8 general hospitals (AH, SGH, NUH, CGH, TTSH, KTPH, NTFGH & SKH), and 2 specialized hospitals (KKH & IMH). In addition, there are 9 national specialty centres for cancer (NCCS & NCIS), cardiac (NHCS & NUHCS), eye (SNEC), skin (NSC), neuroscience (NNI) and dental care (NDCS & NUCOHS). The private healthcare infrastructure in Singapore is also well established. The payment methods include private payment gateways or private insurance companies. You can expect better technology to be used in private hospitals in Singapore. Various procedures like stem cell therapy and cancer research are conducted in Singapore.
The Joint Commission International (JCI) is a global leader in health care accreditation. JCI accreditation is considered a gold standard in worldwide health care. It provides the most skilled and experienced healthcare professionals in the medical industry, as evaluators of the rigorous international standards in healthcare quality and patient safety. Here are some of the JCI certified hospitals in Singapore :
  • Mount Elizabeth Hospital
  • Singapore National Eye Centre
  • National Dental Centre
  • Raffles Hospital
  • National University Hospital
  • Gleneagles Hospital
  • Singapore General Hospital
  • National Heart Centre Singapore
  • Changi General Hospital
  • National Cancer Centre
  • National Skin Centre
  • Johns Hopkins Singapore International Medical Centre
  • Tan Tock Seng Hospital
Since Singapore is known all over the world for some of the best medical treatments all across the globe, you can surely expect the best quality of doctors and surgeons here. This country has a very high quality of life and hence the health of people is of high priority.
People who wish to go to Singapore as a tourist for social purposes or seeking medical treatment, and require a longer period of stay beyond the Visit Pass granted on entry into Singapore, may submit an application for extension of stay (not more than 89 days from date of entry) online using the e-Service of ICA. All extension applications must be submitted online using the e-service at least seven days prior to the expiry of the visit pass to avoid overstaying. Extension of visit will not be accepted over the counter. Every visit pass issued to any person as a tourist or for the purpose of a social visit or medical treatment shall be subjected to the condition that the holder shall not engage in any form of employment (paid or unpaid) or in any business, profession or occupation in Singapore during the validity of that pass unless he is a holder of a valid work pass issued under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act. Do visit the ICA website for further information.
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