Treatment Hub (9 News Perth)
9 News has been given a rare exclusive look at a new streamlined surgical procedure used to treat Parkinson’s disease. Perth’s Hollywood Private Hospital is the first facility in Australia to adopt the more efficient and effective medical treatment.
Reporter (Nathan Brooks)
Jeanette Gilmartin has been living with Parkinson’s disease for the past 6 years.
Dr Julian Rodrigues (neurologist)
She has lost all dexterity. Try to wriggle your fingers.
The degenerative condition causes an incurable loss of brain cells, affecting patient stability, movement and even memory.
This is Parkinson’s. You lose voluntary movement.
But now, thanks to life-changing surgery, independence has been restored to the 62-year-old’s life.
Can you do this?
Jeanette Gilmartin (Parkinson’s disease patient)
Before this  surgery, I couldn’t function at all, I couldn’t speak to you. My voice would just disappear, and I can’t walk, I can’t even get out of the chair.
The mother of two underwent a procedure called deep brain stimulation to have tiny probes implanted in her skull which send an electrical pulse through her brain, targeting and reducing symptoms.
Somehow, we don’t exactly know how, but it seems to cancel out the abnormal electrical signalling in the brain that Parkinson’s disease causes.
Kim Bouwer (Parkinson’s disease patient)
I can actually get enough meds virtually a day, and I can still walk.
Perth’s Hollywood Private Hospital is at the forefront of the technology in Australia.
Deep brain stimulation has been used in the treatment of Parkinson’s for more than a decade, but until recently the procedure had to be completed in two parts. Now, everything can be done from here in the one theatre.
It’s all thanks to this new machine, an intraoperative CT scanner.
Having the CAT scanner in theatre means we don’t have to wheel the patient around the hospital from department to department with a metal frame on their head.
Assoc Prof Stephen Lewis (neurosurgeon)
Workflow becomes very streamlined and not only that, it also offers an increased element of patient safety.
The surgery, with the aid of medication, is changing the lives of Parkinson’s sufferers.
Previously when I was unmedicated I was, you know, in the middle of the night if you wanted to get up to go to the loo, I wasn’t able to get one foot in front of the other. I’d have to crawl to the loo sometimes.
It’s three months since surgery now, and probably for the last two months I’ve enjoyed a much better quality of life.
Nathan Brooks, 9 News.