Fletcher Allen, a Vermont university hospital and medical center, serves all of
Vermont and the northern New York region. Located in Burlington, Fletcher Allen is a regional, academic healthcare center and teaching hospital in alliance with the University of Vermont.
Ken Loseby--Deep Brain Stimulation
Ken Loseby of Rutland was 50 when he first learned he had Parkinson's Disease. His primary care physician diagnosed the disease and referred him to Robert Hamill, M.D., a Fletcher Allen neurologist and professor of neurology at the University of Vermont College of Medicine.
At first, Ken had tremors in his left hand. As the disease progressed, his medications stopped working effectively. They no longer adequately controlled his symptoms, and led to side effects that produced twisting and turning movements. He had difficulty taking care of himself and developed weakness in the legs, eventually needing a walker to get around.
Dr. Hamill and fellow Fletcher Allen neurologist James Boyd, M.D., assistant professor of neurology at the UVM College of Medicine, talked to Ken about Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS). DBS is a surgical procedure often used to treat Parkinson's symptoms such as tremor, stiffness, slowed movement and walking problems. Surgery is considered appropriate when medications no longer control Parkinson's symptoms, Dr. Boyd said.
In January 2008, after living with Parkinson's for more than 10 years, Ken decided to have the surgery. Paul Penar, M.D., Fletcher Allen neurosurgeon and professor of neurosurgery, performed the procedure in collaboration with other Fletcher Allen physicians who specialize in the treatment of patients with neurological disorders, including Dr. Boyd, brain imaging experts and other clinicians.
The surgery for deep brain stimulation involves implanting a battery-operated device, which delivers electrical impulses to targeted areas of the brain that are causing the Parkinson's Disease symptoms. The electrical impulses block the abnormal nerve signals that are causing the symptoms. MRI imaging and sophisticated computer mapping are used to identify the precise area of the brain to target.
Ken's surgery was a success. "My quality of life drastically improved," he said. Ken was able to rebuild strength in his leg muscles. Six months after the surgery, he built a storage shed from scratch in his backyard.
He's now able to do things he loves, like jet skiing, going dancing with his wife Deb, playing guitar and traveling.
"Family and friends could not believe the difference it made in Ken," said Deb Loseby. "We are so happy to have our life back."