Kochi hospital performs Asia’s first bot-aided implant for Parkinson’s

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Doctors at Amrita Hospital explain the functioning of the robot ROSA; (right) illustration that explains DBS; and (top right) patient Zubair.

For Zubair, a 45-year-old autorickshaw driver from Kerala’s Guruvayoor district, earning a livelihood was becoming increasingly difficult as he was suffering from Parkinson’s disease. Often, he would start shaking uncontrollably while at the wheel, terrifying passengers. He’d then have to request them to disembark and take another auto for their safety. Taking his medications on the roadside, Zubair would wait for its effects to kick in so that he could make another trip.
The only earning member of a family of four, Zubair got a new lease of life after undergoing Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) implantation at Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi.
This is the first time in Asia that DBS implantation was performed with a medical robot called ROSA. The technology enables minimally invasive surgery of the central nervous system with a level of precision not possible by human hand.
After the free-of-cost surgery by Dr Ashok Pillai, Clinical Professor, Department of Neurosurgery, at Amrita Hospital, Zubair’s symptoms have disappeared.
Zubair was 35 years old when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Over the years, his fits got more violent. Any high-pitch sound would throw him into a fit of rage. Medicines only provided temporary relief.
Eventually, Zubair’s wife reached the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences where she was directed to its Movement Disorder Clinic. This procedure remains the first-ever robotic-assisted DBS implantation performed in India, and whole of Asia, for Parkinson’s disease.
“DBS provides therapeutic benefits for treatment-resistant disorders like Parkinson’s, epilepsy, movement disorders, chronic pain, depression and obsessive-compulsive disorders. Functional neurosurgery is an important branch of neurosurgery that helps correct treatment-resistant neurological disorders. The ROSA robotic technology, often called the GPS system for the skull, ensures high precision during the implantation of the neuro-stimulator. This was used for the first time in Asia in the case of Zubair,” Dr Pillai said.
“After so many years, I can watch a movie with my family without any disturbance. Earlier, I couldn’t go out to a social gathering or even attend family functions because everyone would stare at my tremors,” Zubair said.
WHAT IS PARKINSON’S?
A disorder of the central nervous system, it affects movement, often including tremors. It’s a chronic and progressive movement disorder, where symptoms continue and worsen over time.
DBS EXPLAINED
Deep Brain Stimulation, a neurosurgical procedure, was first attempted in the US in 1987. It involves implantation of a neuro-stimulator that sends electrical impulses to specific areas in the brain.

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