No longer awake during Parkinson’s surgery: ‘Now more women are daring to do it’

MRI scans

“Nowadays this is no longer necessary,” says Vinke, “we have now developed MRI scans. As a result, the operation can now be performed under anesthesia.” And, according to Finke, it also saves time: “The procedure is much shorter. We can now operate on two patients in one day instead of one. In addition, patients continue to take their medication, so that complaints remain stable.”

“Since 2019, Radboudumc has only performed these operations for Parkinson’s disease using MRI and under anesthesia,” says Vinke. Worldwide, the procedure is still performed according to the traditional vigilant method in the vast majority of situations.

Remarkably, more women are signing up

“Since we started working under anesthesia, the number of women undergoing this procedure has risen sharply,” says Vinke. “Parkinson’s disease occurs in 40 percent of cases in women. But in our study, only 17 percent of patients using the traditional surgical method were women.”

According to Finke, that percentage has now risen to more than forty percent, as the disease is also distributed among the population.

Vinke doesn’t know why more women are reporting now: “There will be more research into this. We think that men with Parkinson’s disease are not afraid to take risks. They don’t mind. Women look more at what they see in the metrics. If they think about such process. But again, that’s something we need to figure out.”

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