Deep Brain Stimulation FAQs
If you are considering deep brain stimulation (DBS) therapy to manage your movement disorder symptoms, you may have questions. Find answers to common questions below.
You can also find answers to movement disorders FAQs in:
Be sure to discuss these and any additional questions with your doctor.
Does having a DBS system mean I do not have to take medication anymore?
DBS therapy with a system like the St. Jude Medical Infinity™ DBS system can be used in combination with medications to achieve the best results for your condition. Sometimes, however, medication use can be decreased, potentially reducing medication side effects.
How long after receiving the DBS system will my symptoms improve?
For some people, symptoms may improve immediately after surgery. Others may see improvements for several months. Response to therapy (or improvement in symptoms) continues to improve over time with ongoing programming and medication adjustments.
How long will the benefits of DBS last?
Current data shows the motor benefits of DBS last for up to five years after the initial surgery.1 Additional studies underway review the longer-term benefits. Unfortunately, movement disorders like Parkinson's disease and essential tremor continue to progress even after DBS therapy, so the exact length of benefit will most likely vary on an individual basis.
Will DBS therapy prevent my movement disorder from progressing?
DBS therapy is not a cure for movement disorders. In addition, it is unlikely that it will eliminate all of your symptoms or stop them from progressing. The goal of DBS therapy is to help improve your quality of life and provide an extended period during which your symptoms can be controlled. In addition, you may be able to reduce the amount of your medication and reduce medication-related side effects.
After surgery, will I be able to return to my normal activities, such as working and exercising?
If you were working before surgery, more than likely you will be able to return to work after you recover from surgery. It is likely that you will be able to do other activities that you could not do before. For advice about exercise and other activities, it is best to consult with your doctor.
How long will my IPG last?
The St. Jude Medical Infinity™ DBS system IPG contains a battery. At each programming session, your doctor can check the status of your battery. There is plenty of warning before the battery is depleted, so your doctor will know when to schedule a replacement. How long a battery lasts depends upon how much therapy is required to manage your symptoms and the device’s settings. When the battery is near depletion, your doctor will replace the IPG in a simplified, short, minimally invasive procedure. With this type of procedure, the leads usually do not need to be removed or replaced, so the recovery time is often much shorter than the initial system implant.
What are the potential risks and side effects of DBS therapy?
DBS therapy is not for everyone and every patient experience may be different, so it is important to talk with your physician about the benefits and risks. DBS has risks associated with brain surgery, which may include serious complications such as coma, bleeding inside the brain, paralysis, seizures and infection. Some of these may be fatal. If side effects are intolerable or you are not satisfied with the therapy, the DBS system can be turned off or surgically removed. See more about risks for DBS therapy and the important safety information for the St. Jude Medical Infinity™ DBS system.