Phoenix surgeon completes 1,000th deep brain stimulation surgery

Sep 6, 2019, 4:15 AM | Updated: 12:53 pm

(Barrow Photo)...

(Barrow Photo)

(Barrow Photo)

PHOENIX — A Barrow Neurological Institute surgeon has reached a milestone that hasn’t been achieved by any other professional in the country.

Dr. Francisco Ponce recently performed his 1,000th deep brain stimulation surgery at Barrow’s Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center in central Phoenix, according to a press release.

Ponce has performed the operation more times than any other surgeon in the U.S., according to the release.

“I am excited about the increased DBS awareness over the past eight years in the region,” Ponce said in the release. “I see this milestone as a testament to the commitment we’ve made to patient education, surgical safety and consistency, and neurologist engagement.”

The surgery was performed on 73-year-old Stephen Smith, a former government employee from Reno, Nevada, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s 12 years ago.

The two-part procedure involves placing one or two electrodes into the brain and connecting them to a neurostimulator — a pacemaker for the brain — that delivers an electrical current to selected regions of the brain.

The procedure is meant to relieve patients of their symptoms, and Smith expects return to a normal lifestyle.

“My wife, Vilia, and I have many things we still want to do in this life and our prayer is that the ‘golden years’ will truly become that for us and for many others with Parkinson’s through research and dedicated doctors and staff such as those at Barrow,” Smith said in the release.

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Phoenix surgeon completes 1,000th deep brain stimulation surgery