Deep Brain Stimulation Cost in India [How to reduce DBS cost in India]

Deep Brain Stimulation cost in India varies between Rs. 8 lakh to Rs. 15 lakh.

Most of the cost variation is based on the DBS device used.

A rough breakup of the minimum cost is as follows:

ExpenseApproximate cost

(INR)

Approximate cost

(USD)

Pre-operative evaluationRs. 50,000$ 680
DBS Device (Activa-PC)Rs. 4.5 lakh$ 6120
Operation charges (Hospital)Rs. 1 lakh$ 1360
Doctor’s charges (Neurologist, Neurosurgeon etc)Rs. 1 lakh$ 1360
Hospital stay including medicationsRs. 1 lakh$ 1360
TOTALRs. 8.5 lakh$ 10,880

On the whole, this is the minimum DBS cost in India.

This cost of Deep Brain Stimulation in India may vary with time and location. It is very reasonable to get a firm, clear estimate from the hospital before making a decision.

You should know a few critical things:

DBS cost in Charitable/Governmental Indian institutes

Some semi-charitable hospitals in India also perform this procedure. For example, the Nizam’s institute of medical sciences in Hyderabad performs a large number of DBS surgeries.

Another option is the Sree Chitra Insitute in Thiruvantapuram, Kerala.

A third option is AIIMS, in New Delhi.

The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) is one of the Governmental organizations providing phenomenal services to Indians, including DBS.

The DBS cost at these Governmental institutions may be even lower. They may also be able to acquire the DBS device at lower cost from the companies.

Logistically, being treated at charitable institutes in India may be a bit difficult. These institutes deliver really admirable, yeoman service to a very large number of people.

If you are particular about convenience, timings, accessibility, counselling etc you may want to follow-up at a private hospital. If you are able to look past some inconveniences, these institutes are a great, cost-effective option.

DBS cost with non-US DBS devices

Two manufacturers in China have now started manufacturing DBS devices.

Here are the links to the 2 Chinese companies manufacturing DBS:

  1. PINS Medical
  2. SceneRay Medical 
Two chinese companies have started producing DBS devices. These are cheaper, but less well-proven as compared to the US devices.

Just to remind you, there are 3 US manufacturers of DBS devices. You can read all about the American DBS devices by reading this article on my website.

Here are the links to the company websites.

  1. Medronic ‘s Activa System
  2. Abbot’s Vercise System
  3. St. Jude’s Inifinity system.

The cost of Chinese DBS devices is expected to be much lower than the US-made devices. There are three issues to consider:

  • These devices have not been specifically approved by the Indian FDA yet.
  • The effectiveness of these devices is not as well established as US devices.
  • The very long term reliability of the hardware is not known.
  • Long term service (e.g. battery replacements & availability of DBS programming devices) is a concern.

This is a developing situation.

China makes reliable cell phones and other electronic devices. However, their expertise in manufacturing medical electronics is not as established as the US.

At this point, this appears to be an unreliable option to reduce DBS cost in India.

But as more information becomes available, this might be one avenue through which Deep Brain Stimulation Cost in India may be reduced.

If the cost is lower, is DBS surgery in India inferior to USA/UK/Europe?

India is one of the best countries in the world to get tertiary level care.

Surgeon experience:

Having worked in many systems throughout the world, I can confidently state that the expertise of Neurosurgeons in India is second to none.

The stereotactic procedure used to insert the wire into a precise position may seem like magic. Thankfully, it is used in many other brain procedures, particularly brain biopsy. As a result, many neurosurgeons in India have excellent results with the procedure.

Surgical Equipment:

At this time, much of the neurosurgical equipment is imported. For example:

  • The Frame used to guide wire insertion is imported from the USA or Europe. Many places use the Leksell system from Sweden, which is one of the most popular systems internationally.
  • The MRI and CT machines are usually from one of 3 manufacturers – Philips, Seimens or GE (USA).
Much of the surgical equipment used for DBS in India is imported from the US / Europe.

DBS devices used in India

Lastly, regarding the DBS devices, the US devices are marketed by the same companies in India, who also provide the after-surgery services. 

Amongst all DBS systems, the price of Medtronic’s Activa system is the lowest in India. Therefore, it is the most commonly used DBS device in this country.

Why do some DBS surgeries cost up to Rs. 15 lakh?

The higher cost of surgery is mainly based on the type of DBS device used. Should you select a more expensive device?

  • The DBS devices which are rechargeable are costlier than the non-rechargeable devices. They last longer. So, battery changes are not required often.
  • The newer devices from Abbot (Vercise) and St. Jude (Infinity) offer technologically advanced features like current steering. But they are also very expensive.

Here is a video describing what the newer, more expensive devices can do:

You can read more about DBS device selection here. But let me quickly summarize the important points.

The advanced programming offered by the more expensive devices (Vercise & Infinitiy), may help in some cases. But these advanced features are rarely required.

The regular devices offer just as much improvement, in almost all cases.

Should you select an expensive DBS device?
If you can afford it, it is worthwhile to consider rechargeable & advanced devices. But if your finances are limited, you can select the regular devices (eg. Activa PC) without hesitation.

I am going to give some frank advice here.

Talk with your doctor in detail, and make sure you give serious consideration to his/her preference. The use of current-steering devices is evolving.

As more information becomes available we might get better at selecting the patients who need these devices (As a hypothetical example: if the wire is likely to off-target due to brain shape/head shape, it is better to select a device with current steering).

A few other factors may also affect DBS cost in India:

  • Neurologist & Neurosurgeon fees, which may vary.
  • Hospital fees, type of room selected etc.

Are there any other ways to reduce DBS cost in India?

Almost in all cases, DBS is done by using two wires. One on the left and one on the right. This is called “Bilateral DBS”.

However, in certain cases, a single wire may provide good benefit. This is called “Unilateral DBS”.

Bilateral DBS on the left, Unilateral DBS on the right. Unilateral DBS is cheaper than Bilateral DBS.

Unilateral DBS is especially useful if:

  • Your symptoms are mostly only on side of your body.
  • You have uncontrolled depression or thinking problems – because these can get worse with bilateral DBS of the STN.
  • If you want to reduce the DBS cost as much as possible.

Since it is only on one side, almost everything is reduced by half: the surgery time is reduced, only one wire is needed, and a much smaller battery (e.g. the Activa SC) is needed.

Well, almost everything is reduced by half. The cost of the DBS device is not.

For example, the Activa-SC device still costs 70-80% of the regular device (Activa-PC).

But the cost of unilateral DBS overall tends to be lower than bilateral DBS. Certainly, this is one option to explore if you meet the criteria mentioned above.

If it is required later, a Unilateral DBS can be converted into a Bilateral DBS. This method of staged treatment has very good results as well.

In summary

  • DBS cost in India is much lower than in other countries.
  • Some semi-charitable institutes may be able to offer Yeoman service at even cheaper rates.
  • Currently, only US-made devices are used.
  • Chinese DBS devices may be a cheaper option in the future.
  • Surgical experience is excellent.
  • Almost all the equipment used is the same as in the UK/US.
  • In some cases, Unilateral DBS (single wire) can be considered to further reduce Deep Brain Stimulation cost in India.


Caution:
This information is for educational purposes. It is not a substitute for professional medical diagnosis & treatment. Do not change your medications, supplements or other treatments without your doctor's permission.

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Dr. Siddharth Kharkar

Dr. Siddharth Kharkar is a board certified (American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology certified) Neurologist. He is a Epilepsy specialist & Parkinson's specialist in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.

He has trained in the best institutions in India, US and UK including KEM hospital in Mumbai, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, University of California at San Francisco (UCSF), USA & Kings College in London.

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