Preparing For Surgery

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Preparing for Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) Surgery

Now that you have your deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery date scheduled, it’s normal to feel somewhat nervous or anxious as your surgery date approaches. Below are some steps that can help you prepare for your procedure.

A few months before

Discuss the procedure with a caregiver—your spouse or other close relative or friend. Consider asking the caregiver to accompany you to your doctor appointments to help you process information. Keep your caregiver informed as you prepare for the procedure. Ask them to accompany you to the surgery, and tell them what support you’ll need before, during and afterwards.

Questions you may want to ask your neurologist or movement disorder specialist:

  • How many days will I be in the hospital?
  • What pre-op visits need to be scheduled?
  • How long will the surgery take?
  • How many incisions will I have from my surgery, and where will they be?
  • Will I need to shave my hair?
  • What should my caregiver be prepared to do?

Your doctor may:

  • Recommend you talk with others who have had or are considering DBS surgery.
  • Advise you to learn some relaxation techniques to help you stay calm before and during the procedure. These could include meditation, mindful breathing or music.

A few weeks before

Your doctor or DBS staff may:

  • Advise you and your caregiver to write down the center's address, phone numbers and parking instructions. The surgery location may be a different location from where you were evaluated. Look it up on a map and consider making a rehearsal trip.
  • Explain what medicines you can take and what you need to stop taking.
  • Suggest lodging near the hospital. If traveling from out of town, plan to arrive a day early.

A few days before

Pack a bag to take to the hospital. It should include:

  • At least a week’s supply of all of your medications in their original, labeled bottles, with a list of medication names, dosages and times taken
  • Names and phone numbers of people to contact in case of emergency
  • Personal items such as photos or reading materials

Tell your doctor about:

  • Bad reactions you or your family members have ever experienced with any anesthesia
  • Allergies you have to medications, food or other substances
  • Medications you are using, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, herbs and supplements

Talk to your doctor for more information on what to do before the procedure.

The night before

Your doctor or DBS staff may recommend you get a good night’s sleep. Follow any instructions they provide. These could include not eating or drinking anything after midnight.

Procedure risks

Risks of brain surgery may include serious complications such as coma, bleeding inside the brain, paralysis, seizures and infection. Some of these may be fatal.