No. DBS therapy will not reduce your future therapy options. DBS therapy is reversible and the system can be removed.
No, DBS also treats stiffness and slow or absent movement.
No. As soon as you realize that your medications don’t seem to work as well as they have in the past, talk to your doctor right away. The window of opportunity for DBS therapy opens when your body isn’t responding to medication as well as it used to – but before your medicine stops working completely.
If you wait too long, you will not benefit as much from the treatment.
Typically, the DBS device is not activated until you’ve healed from the surgery. Your symptoms may decrease at that time. Optimal results are usually achieved after the doctor or nurse who programs your device has gone through multiple programming sessions with you. This process may take several months.
Most people don’t feel the stimulation at all as it reduces their symptoms. However, some people may feel a brief tingling sensation when the stimulation is first turned on. Higher levels of stimulation have been described as uncomfortable, jolting or shocking. If the stimulation changes or becomes uncomfortable, contact your doctor immediately.
For the first few weeks after surgery, you should avoid strenuous activity, arm movements over your shoulder, and excessive stretching of your neck. You may want to gradually attempt activities that were difficult before your surgery. Talk about this with your doctor first and follow all of your doctor’s instructions.
Depending on your body build, the neurostimulator may be noticeable as a small bulge under the skin. Your doctor will try to place the neurostimulator in a place that is most comfortable and cosmetically acceptable.
In most cases, only your doctor can change the strength of stimulation. Depending on the type of neurostimulator you have, you may be able to choose from a range of stimulation settings that your doctor has programmed for you.
The current national policy provides coverage for Medicare beneficiaries who qualify as candidates for DBS; however, you will still pay deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments.
Typically, your doctor will work with private insurance companies to obtain prior approval. It is common for an insurance company to deny a request for prior approval if they are unfamiliar with the treatment.
Denied? If you receive a denial and wish to appeal, we’re here to guide you and your physician through the process.
Consult your doctor before engaging in any medical treatment or diagnostic test (for example, MRI, mammograms, electrocautery, or heart defibrillation). Diathermy (deep heat treatment) should not be permitted under any circumstances.
Many DBS systems are designed so that an MRI head scan is possible with proper safeguards. But, you should talk to your doctor if an MRI scan is prescribed for you.
The safety and effectiveness of this therapy have not been established for patients who are pregnant.
Since DBS therapy requires brain surgery, there are risks involved including bleeding inside the brain, seizures and infection. Also, the system may become infected, parts may wear through your skin, and the lead or lead/extension connector may move. Some patients receiving DBS therapy have reported depression and suicidal thoughts. Talk with your doctor about the risks that may be applicable to your specific situation.
No, it is actually completely reversible. It is also adjustable, which means that the stimulation can be adjusted to match changes in your symptoms. The system can also be deactivated or even surgically removed.
Your symptoms will return. If you can’t determine the possible cause and correct the problem, contact your doctor.
On average (depending on programmed settings), the neurostimulator battery lasts 3 to 5 years. The rechargeable neurostimulator lasts for 9 years.
Before your battery runs out, you’ll need to replace the neurostimulator through a surgical procedure. The lead and extension can typically stay in place and be reconnected to the new neurostimulator.