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Treatment of Surgical Candidates

Attentiveness to safety and efficacy continues during the surgery itself. At Michigan, a team of expert neurologists, electrophysiologists and speech pathologists work together with the surgeon in the operating room to ensure that each patient receives the maximum benefits and the minimal side effects of surgery. Following surgery, patients receive a customized CT scan or MRI that precisely identifies the location of the surgical intervention and guides postoperative care.

Movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor can cause communication and/or swallowing difficulties. Prior to surgery, a speech pathology evaluation is performed to obtain a baseline of the patient's speech and language skills and swallowing skills, to select individual specific intraoperative testing materials and, if needed, to provide recommendations. While DBS often does not improve communication, research has shown that incorrect placement can cause a decline in speech. As a result, the patient's communication skills are monitored during surgery. Intraoperative speech pathology testing is performed during the procedure to help monitor the patient’s speech and language skills during placement of the DBS.

Postoperative speech pathology followup is performed to make sure there is no decline after surgery and to provide further communication and/or swallowing recommendations.