Jack Condon, a 61-year-old Sun City West resident, is Banner Boswell Medical Center’s 100th deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgical patient.
Deep brain stimulation is a surgical therapy used at Banner Boswell to help patients with Parkinson’s disease or essential tremor. Qualified patients who opt for deep brain stimulation have motor-skill challenges that significantly interfere with their quality of life and cannot be controlled by medication.
Jack was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2004. Though he continued to work as an emergency room nurse at a local hospital, the progressive neurodegenerative disease forced him to retire in 2008. He experienced stiffness in his right wrist and hand, muscle tightness and cramping, especially in his right foot and had trouble writing. Walking became increasingly difficult. He described that on bad days he felt like he was walking through mud or concrete.
To control the disease, Jack was taking more than 30 pills a day. The medications were becoming less effective and were unpredictable, leaving Jack homebound and decreasing his quality of life.
The disease forced Jack to give up his nursing career and his hobby of amateur piloting. He also golfed less and found it challenging to tinker with his car as his dexterity diminished.
Jack underwent DBS surgery in March 2011. During the first surgery, neurosurgeon David Pootrakul, MD, inserted two thin wire leads through small openings in Jack’s skull, implanting them in target sites within the brain. He was awake during the surgery to ensure correct placement of the leads. Jack stayed in the hospital overnight; returning the following week for the second phase of the surgery to implant the pulse generator and wire extension in his chest. The outpatient procedure lasted less than two hours and he was home that afternoon.
The following week, Jack returned to his neurologist, movement disorders specialist Holly Shill, MD, to begin programming the device settings.
Just eight weeks after surgery, Jack had already decreased his medication to 10 pills a day. He golfs 18 holes per week regularly and has started becoming more active in the community. He can work on his car again and plans on traveling more now that he’s feeling better.