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malexander

Evaluating surgical centers

4 posts in this topic

I am a candidate for DBS, but I have not yet decided where to have it done.  I believe you have suggested looking at complication rates as one factor while evaluating possible surgical centers.  I have found this information difficult to obtain.  Administrative staff and nurses at several centers have told me that I needed to talk with the neurosurgeon to get this information.  One site (Stanford) told me that I would need to schedule an appointment first and then I could ask about complication rates during my appointment.  Even when I have gotten numbers for complication rates, it is not clear that they are using standardized criteria.  For example, I have heard infection rates of 2% up to 13%, but I do not know if minor skin infections are included in each case.  Also, I do not know if these rates are per patient or per surgical site--ie do they assume a bilateral or unilateral procedure.  Do you have any advise concerning how I can get this information and how I should interpret the numbers?

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There is no requirement to report this information.  Most of the time you do need to look the surgeon in the eyes and ask him/her.  The complications you are most worried about are infections requiring device removal, and bleeds in the brain.  Hope that helps.

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Disturbing, isn't it? That there is no requirement to know or provide such important information... It's not like I'm buying a car here or something---it's MY BRAIN, people! Why is this so nebulous? Of course, if the surgeon can't give me a straight answer I'm gonna pass, but still,...

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You should definitely get straight answers before considering DBS surgery for Parkinson's.

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