How effective is deep brain stimulation?

In properly selected patients, DBS has been shown to be a remarkably safe and effective treatment for the conditions in which it has been approved. Although symptoms may not completely go away, they are significantly improved in most patients. Promising results have been seen in the conditions for which it is still under investigation.

There are advantages and benefits as well as risks and complications with all surgical procedures. You and your doctor will discuss this procedure as well as other treatment options to determine if deep brain stimulation is appropriate for you.

Does deep brain stimulation cure the diseases in which it is being used?

Deep brain stimulation does not cure the underlying disease. However, it may significantly improve symptoms, which improves a patient’s function and quality of life.

Will I still need to take medications after deep brain stimulation?

Yes. However, your dosage may be greatly reduced over time.

When will I be able to go home right away after the deep brain stimulation procedure?

The average hospital stay following implantation of the DBS leads is 1 to 2 days. Most patients are able to return home on the same day that their battery is placed.

How should I care for the surgical area once I am home?

  • Your stitches or staples will be removed 10 to 14 days after surgery.
  • Each of the 4 pin sites should be kept covered with band aids until they are dry. These should be changed every day as necessary.
  • You will be able to wash your head with a damp cloth, avoiding the surgical area.
  • You may only shampoo your hair the day after your stitches or staples are removed, but only very gently.
  • You should not scratch or irritate the wound areas.

Will I have to limit my activity following deep brain stimulation surgery?

  • You should not engage in light activities for 2 weeks after surgery. This includes housework and sexual activity.
  • You should not engage in heavy activities for 4 to 6 weeks after surgery. This includes jogging, swimming, or any physical education classes. Anything strenuous should be avoided to allow your surgical wound to heal properly. If you have any questions about activities, call your doctor before performing them.
  • You should not lift more than 5 lbs. for at least 2 weeks.
  • You should not raise your arms above your shoulders or over bend or stretch your neck.
  • Depending on the type of work you do, you may return to work within 4 to 6 weeks.

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