Nikhar was perplexed when treatment for Parkinson’s did not work. Finally, he appraoched doctors at Jaslok Hospital who found that his condition was not Parkinson’s. Nikhar was diagnosed with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), a condition very similar to Parkinson’s. According to studies, six in 1,00,000 people suffer from PSP.
Doctors performed a bilateral surgery on the patient last month. This is one of the three such operations done at the hospital and possibly the only one in the world.
“Nine such patients have been operated upon across the world. However, all of them underwent unilateral surgery. The bilateral operation, which is done on both sides of the brain, is more complex ,” said neurosurgeon Dr Paresh Doshi, who operated on Nikhar.
The surgery for PSP involves implantation of electrodes and connected to a pacemaker. The patient is then taken for an MRI scan to locate the site of the neurodegeneration. Nikhar was awake for most part of the surgery to give feedback on improvement and side effects if any. He had to undergo 16 sittings, each lasting half-an-hour to two hours.
“Diagnosis itself took three days. A major sign of PSP is freezing of gait, i.e. the person is unable to walk as the disease progresses. It becomes difficult to operate on a patient once he is wheelchair-bound,” Doshi said.
Nikhar, whose reflexes had become weak over the past few years, is now able to move around with ease. “I was uanble to walk straight earlier. I was not able to write. After the surgery, I can even travel for long hours,” Nikhar said. He will be heading back to Oman next month.