Jersey Shore University Medical Center Now Provides NJ’s Most Experienced Robotic-Assisted Deep Brain Stimulation Program

October 14, 2021

From left, Eric Hargreaves, Ph.D.; Program Manager Dana L. Dolce, APN, and Dr. Danish, M.D., review an image of a patient’s brain.

No other program in New Jersey boasts two dedicated advanced nurse practitioners and a dedicated neurophysiologist as part of the program

This is the only program in NJ and one of few in the nation in which the surgical team has experience with robotic-assisted deep brain stimulation, a frameless technique that shortens the operating time, and improves patient comfort

Hackensack Meridian Jersey Shore University Medical Center’s Neuroscience Institute recently established its comprehensive Movement Disorder Program.  Movement disorders refer to a group of neurological conditions that cause abnormal, increased or reduced body movements that are typically involuntary.  Three of the major disorders are Parkinson’s Disease, Essential Tremors, and Dystonia.

The program is led by Chair of Neurosurgery, Board Certified Neurosurgeon Shabbar F. Danish, M.D., FAANS, and a multidisciplinary team of experts, including neurologists, nurse practitioners, neuropsychologists, and neuro rehabilitation specialists.  Dr. Danish has pioneered minimally invasive techniques for deep brain stimulation (DBS) and specializes in movement disorders.  DBS is a surgical treatment for Parkinson’s Disease, Essential Tremor, Dystonia, and other disorders.

“We develop a customized and comprehensive management plan for each patient to meet their specific needs,” says Dr. Danish. “Our goal is to minimize symptoms and optimize their ability to function, so patients can live full and content lives.”  The program provides an array of medical and surgical treatments to specifically address and manage movement disorders, such as complex medical management, Botulinum Treatment, DBS, MRI-guided laser therapy, physical, occupational and speech therapy and nutrition counseling.

“Deep brain stimulation is one of the most effective and advanced treatments at our disposal,” says Dr. Danish.  DBS is essentially a pacemaker for the affected areas of the brain that are involved in the movement disorder.  The implantation surgery involves placing a small wire or stimulating lead in the area of the brain affected. Extension cables are then routed under the skin down to the chest where the neurostimulator is implanted.  When switched on, the system delivers a continual electrical stimulation, unfelt by the patient, to improve symptoms.  “With Parkinson’s Disease, for example, patients become candidates for DBS when their symptoms become difficult to manage with medication alone or if their medications are causing undesirable side effects,” says Dr. Danish.  The system requires skillful management and monitoring to ensure it is effective and optimized.

Clinical Neurophysiologist Eric Hargreaves, who holds a Ph.D., and has more than 20 years of academic and experimental research experience, assists in guiding electrodes to their neural targets during surgery as well as assists in managing the patients’ DBS systems afterwards.  “Dr. Hargreaves relies on his wealth of experience to ensure DBS systems are optimized, maximizing benefit, while minimizing adverse effects,” says Danish. “The good news is, after the system is set up and a programming session is finished, patients are able to make small adjustments themselves, if necessary, once at home or swap pre-programmed groups entirely with the guidance of the team.”

There is no other program in New Jersey that boasts two dedicated advanced practitioners and a dedicated neurophysiologist.  “This is the only program in New Jersey in which the surgical team has experience with robotic-assisted deep brain stimulation, a technique that shortens the operating time, and improves patient comfort,” says Dr. Danish.

“I’m pleased that we are able to provide this program to the communities we serve, as no other hospital in New Jersey, and few in the nation, offers this level of unique expertise combined with the comprehensive nature of this program for movement disorders,” said Vito Buccellato, MPA, LNHA, president and chief hospital executive, Jersey Shore University Medical Center.

The academic medical center’s Neuroscience Institute provides patients with a comprehensive line up of services for spine injuries, concussion, epilepsy, MS, ALS, brain tumors, memory, and more, as well as the region’s only Stroke Rescue Center.  Jersey Shore University Medical Center was recognized by Healthgrades as one of America’s 100 Best Hospitals for Stroke Care and with the Neurosciences Excellence Award in 2020 and 2021.

“It’s an exciting time for the Neuroscience Institute as we continue to expand our patient services, add highly specialized clinicians, as well as plan the construction of a centralized and exceedingly patient-accessible location for all of our neuroscience services,” said Kenneth N. Sable, M.D., MBA, FACEP, regional president, Southern Market, Hackensack Meridian Health.

To make an appointment with the Movement Disorders Program specialists in HOPE Tower, 19 Davis Ave., Neptune, NJ, call 732-974-0003.  For more information about the Neuroscience Institute, visit www.jerseyshoreuniversitymedicalcenter.com/services/neuroscience-institute/.