A 32-year-old UK national, suffering from occipital headaches, can now manage his headaches through remote control after undergoing a brain surgery at Jaslok Hospital in Mumbai.
A bank accountant by profession, George Johnston had been fighting acute headaches since 13 months. Doctors in the UK found out that his chronic headaches were due to a disease called occipital neuralgia, at times confused with migraine.
"The pain persisted day and night and prevented me from even leaving the house. I began working from home, and was in always in a foul mood due to the beating pain," said Johnston, adding that even antidrugs failed to help.
Doctors in the UK advised him to undergo occipital nerve stimulation procedure. As the cost of surgery was low in India, Johnston decided to get it done in India.
This was also India's first ever occipital nerve stimulation surgery. Johnston had to shell out only Rs 12 lakh in India, while in the UK the surgery would have cost Rs 22 lakh.
Neurosurgeon Dr Paresh Doshi at Jaslok Hospital performed the occipital nerve stimulation procedure. First a small cut is made in the lateral part of the neck to implant one electrode on the left and another on the right side. "The electrodes are connected with a pacemaker implanted in the chest wall. As and when the patient experiences pain, he can use a remote control-like device to stimulate the electrodes," said Doshi. This makes the pain vanish.
Doshi further added, "The brain is made up of large and small fibres. The small fibres are responsible for the sensation of pain. The passing current stimulates the large fibres, which block the small fibres from carrying the sensation."