Deep Brain Stimulation in South Africa

Deep brain stimulation is considered as one of the primary advancements in neuroscience and psychiatry, as it provides the necessary treatment for neurological disorders or imbalance in pathological activity of the brain. The stimulator is capable of analysis the brain activities, and providing necessary stimulation required for curing any abnormality. More than a hundred cases of Deep Brain Stimulation are reported across the world, with high success rates. DBS has proven to induce satisfaction among 92.5-95% of patients, however, it has successfully helped in reduction of symptoms in 75% of cases. However, in general, any DBS surgery cost varies approximately from $40,000 to $57,000 and depends on several factors.

What is Deep Brain Stimulation?

Deep Brain Stimulation involves the use of specific stimulating devices or electrodes that are affixed in necessary positions. The device studies the pathological activities of the brain and thereby controls the functioning to improve cognitive brain functioning as well as reduce symptoms of other disorders. The electrodes are however connected to a controller or pace-maker placed in the chest beneath the skin.

Ideal Candidates for Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery

For Deep Brain Stimulation to be performed, one has to be an eligible candidate for the procedure. Apart from certain disorders, DBS can also be performed to study and analyze brain activity in specific cases. Thus, ideal candidates for DBS procedure are individuals who:

  • Suffer from Parkinson's disease, epilepsy, dystonia, OCD, tremors.
  • Need analysis or treatment for major depression, persistent clustering headache, Huntington’s disease, addiction, post-stroke recovery, Tourette syndrome, multiple sclerosis, etc.
  • Are unresponsive or not completely satisfied with other treatments.
  • Need thorough monitoring of the brain activity to continue with regular activities.

Factors affecting the cost of Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery

The factors that closely affect the Deep Brain Stimulation cost are:

  • Type of disorder an individual is suffering from
  • Extent of DBS surgery required
  • Follow up treatments required post-procedure
  • Healthcare benefits availed
  • Surgeons or neurologists performing the operation
Treatment and Cost

15

Total Days
In Country

2 No. Travelers

5 Day in Hospital

10 Days Outside Hospital

Treatment cost starts from

USD 48500

Hospitals

About the Deep Brain Stimulation

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.

How is Deep Brain Stimulation performed?

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.

Recovery from Deep Brain Stimulation

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.

Patient Stories

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the health care infrastructure of South Africa / Why should opt for South Africa as a destination for your medical treatment?
Like most countries, hospitals in South Africa are based upon public and private healthcare systems. There are three main levels of healthcare based upon the payment method of the patient.
  • The full paying patients are those who usually prefer to be treated by a doctor working in the private sector. They can also be funded by an external source. Many non-South African citizens also prefer this treatment service.
  • Fully subsidized patients are those who have been referred from a Primary Healthcare Service Hospital.
  • Partially subsidized patients are patients whose costs are subsidized based on the amount of their income.
The public healthcare system has three main centers for health under its wing:
  • Clinics - These are run by trained professionals and nurses. They can serve as the first point of contact for a patient.
  • Community Healthcare Centre - This is a bigger setup, complete with full-fledged services and doctors and nurses.
  • Hospital - A patient usually gets here after a referral from a clinic or community health center. One can also go in for emergencies. A hospital provides various services like performing surgery and treating chronic illnesses.
Hospitals in South Africa are gearing up to tackle major illnesses and to provide better treatment options. The South African government is also working to introduce policies and towards accommodating more patients from all across the world. It is a great country to find affordable treatment options.
What are the conditions of the hospitals in South Africa? Are they JCI certified? What is the quality of the support staff in the hospitals
The Joint Commission International (JCI) accredits and certifies most health care organizations and programs all around the world. Joint Commission International Accreditation and Certification is recognized as the global leader for health care quality of care and patient safety.
Are the doctors/surgeons in South Africa of the best quality?
Doctors associated with Medigence are of the best quality. We hope to give our patients a pleasant experience and the best doctors we can find. Since South Africa has a lot of requirements in the field of healthcare, the country attracts doctors from all over the world to contribute their services. This can help to ensure that even you receive the best quality of doctors.
What is the process for obtaining a medical visa in South Africa?
One can apply for a visa to South Africa for a period of 90 days. The High Commission of India can then help one decide for how long a visa can be extended. This usually differs from person to person. The Medical Visa allows a person to stay for a maximum of six months with a valid visa. After this, one can go to the FRO office ( Foreigner’s Registration Office ) or FRRO (Foreigner's Regional Registration Office) and request for an extension. Do note that the validity of a visa begins on the day it is issued by the High Commission of India and not on the date of departure. Applications for visas will not be accepted more than 30 days prior to departure.
What support services does MediGence provide in the United Arab Emirates?
MediGence enables you to plan and manage your medical decisions better. These are some of our services offered:
  • Expert Opinion
    We help you seek an Expert Opinion on your diagnosis and treatment from an experienced team of doctors at MediGence and specialists from a reputable hospital.
  • Hospital Recommendation
    We recommend a hospital or a healthcare institution that is best suited for you, based on your ailment and its criticality.
  • 360-degree Hospital Review
    We give you a transparent and holistic view of the hospital and its infrastructure, accreditation, facilities, and expertise to give you confidence.
  • Doctor Validation and Communication
    We share a comprehensive profile of the treating doctor and also arrange a call to clear queries regarding treatment if needed.
  • Options to Choose From
    Based on your choice of destination and other preferences, we provide you multiple options with respect to hospitals and doctors to choose from.
  • 24X7 Patient Care Support
    A dedicated patient case manager stays in constant touch with you to help you at every step of the decision-making process and resolve queries that you may have.
  • Transparent Treatment Cost and Other Expenses
    We give a clear and accurate indication of the total cost of treatment including treatment, stay, meals, and other expenses.
  • Visa Assistance
    We provide and help prepare documentation for visa approval and coordinate with the embassy to expedite the visa process.
  • Accommodation Arrangements
    We propose to you a choice of accommodation based on your preference such as long stay, short stay, or luxury properties.
Which are the best cities in South Africa for medical treatment?
While many cities are striving to create some of the best hospitals in South Africa, Durban, Lenasia, and Cape Town already have some very good hospitals for treatment in South Africa. Located in Durban, Ethekwini Hospital and Heart Centre is a reasonable and affordable hospital in South Africa. Life Kingsbury Hospital in Capetown provides a holistic healing environment for patients. One can also opt for the Ahmed Kathrada Private Hospital in Lenasia. This hospital has been running for nearly 30 years now and various medical facilities can be availed from here.

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