Mumbai: UK man gets brain pacemaker to get rid of severe headaches

In a medical breakthrough, a UK man successfully underwent a brain nerve stimulation procedure in Mumbai to get rid of his rare headaches. 

By Salome Phelamei | Last Updated: Nov 05, 2014, 13:39 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau/Salome Phelamei

Mumbai: In a medical breakthrough, a UK man successfully underwent a brain nerve stimulation procedure in Mumbai to get rid of his rare headaches.

The occipital nerve stimulation surgery will enable the patient to reduce pain using the remote control to his pacemaker which is connected to the electrodes inserted along his neck.

A bank accountant by profession, Mr George Johnson was diagnosed with a rare condition called intractable occipital headaches, that occurred mostly on one side of the head. He had been having continuous and severe headaches since 13 months.

George Johnston, the 32-year-old patient from London, said he came to the city for cheaper medical treatment.

“I used to get continuous headaches when I was younger. They disappeared, but returned a year ago. I decided to get operated in Mumbai as it was expensive and time-consuming to do it in the UK. Moreover, the National Health Services (NHS) in the UK don't cover the procedure under medical insurance. And even if I were to appeal for its inclusion in NHS, I would have had to wait for six years for a tribunal's response,” said Johnson.

The surgery, conducted under neurosurgeon Dr Paresh Doshat at Jaslok Hospital on October 30, cost him Rs 11 lakh only (half the price in the UK).

Dr Doshi said the procedure was carried out in local anaesthesia, which involves making a small incision in the lateral part of the neck to implant two electrodes on both sides.

An excited Johnson now said he is already comfortable using the device to control his pain.