UKZN Neurosurgeon Leads Team Performing Deep Brain Stimulation

A UKZN Neurosurgeon, Dr Nomusa Shezi, led a team of medical specialists and practioners who performed deep brain stimulation (DBS) procedures on two patients with movement disorders.

The procedures were performed at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital in Durban where UKZN’s Discipline of Neurosurgery is based. The Discipline, a leader in the field of neurosurgery in KwaZulu-Natal, has developed its own “functional neurosurgery” methods.

Shezi (34) is KwaZulu-Natal’s first qualified African woman neurosurgeon. Other members of the team – who partnered with Shezi – included neurologist, Dr Ferzana Amod and Netcare neurosurgeon, Dr Piet Slabbert.

The team performed successful DBS procedures on a patient who had Parkinson’s disease and on another suffering from dystonia.

This procedure becomes necessary to treat those suffering from movement disorders that no longer respond to medical therapy.

Shezi has now performed DBS procedures on three occasions in the past 12 months and plans to increase the frequency.

‘Treating these patients requires a team effort,’ said Shezi, who credited Amod for diagnosing, treating and identifying sufferers who he thought would benefit from the procedure.

Slabbert spent three days out of his private practice to offer his expertise and train the team at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital, as most DBS procedures are done by private sector specialists.

The procedure is performed with the patient awake which results in the best possible outcome in terms of improving quality of life, which for some includes being able to regain their independence and return to work.

Shezi and her team hope the procedure will soon be available at State hospitals for all patients requiring it.

Words: Lihle Sosibo

Photograph: Supplied