New hope for people suffering from Parkinson's disease

By Margaret Kavanagh, Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, December 12, 2013, 7:10 AM EST

There could be new hope for people suffering from Parkinson’s disease. New technology could make surgery less dangerous.

Clarita Beslack is able to walk alongside her husband, a simple act that became almost impossible after living for five years with Parkinson’s disease.

“I was getting to the point where I couldn’t move.  I would freeze and by the end of the day I couldn’t get into bed,” said Beslack.

The 62 year-old from Apopka decided to be one of the first patients to undergo deep brain stimulation surgery using Mazor Robotics.

Doctors use the device, which is the size of a soda can, to take images and x-rays of a patient's brain and map out the problem areas.

The device is placed on the person’s head and doctors are able to pinpoint the exact locations where they need to implant electrodes with the hope of increasing a patient’s movement and reducing their tremors. Doctors said the device increases accuracy for neurosurgeons.

"It allows a different way to do the procedure.  Patients have a different choice in the matter,” said Florida Hospital Celebration Health Neurosurgeon Dr. Nizam Razack.

Dr. Razack was the first in the world to perform the surgery at Celebration Health. He said it’s safer, less invasive and takes less time than the old way of performing the surgery. He hopes it becomes more mainstream. "Most patients that need the procedure don’t have it done because of the fear of surgery which is understandable, but with this resource I hope that fear factor will reduce.”

But the device is new and doctors say there are risks to consider including infection, stroke, breathing problems and bleeding of the brain.

But for patients like Clarita said they were risks she was willing to take and she’s noticed a 100 percent difference in her quality of life.   She said she can go for walks, travel and spend time with her grandchildren which are activities she wasn’t able to do before.  

Experts said the device is currently being used in spine procedures and they hope to expand the amount of brain surgery it is being used for.