It is also a good idea to bring a list of questions to your preoperative appointments. Questions can include:

  • Why do I need deep brain stimulation? Are there any other options for treating my condition?
  • Which type of devices will I need? How many leads will I need?
  • Will you implant the lead and the neurostimulator during the same surgery?
  • How long will the surgery take? When can I go home?
  • What short- and long-term restrictions will I have after the surgery? 
  • When can I return to work and other activities?
  • What electrical devices should I avoid after the devices are implanted? What medical testing should I avoid?
  • What kind of assistance will I need at home?
  • How should I take my medications? 
  • What testing and assessments will I need before and after the surgery?
  • How will you treat my pain?
  • When should I follow up with you?
  • How should I contact you? Ask for numbers to call during and after regular hours.

What can I expect after my deep brain stimulation (DBS) device implantation?

Knowing what to expect can help make your road to recovery after deep brain stimulation device implantation as smooth as possible. 

How long will it take to recover?

You will stay in the recovery room after surgery you are alert, breathing effectively, and your vital signs are stable. A hospital stay of one to two days is usually required. This allows your care team to monitor your recovery and make sure that your implanted devices are working properly. You will be discharged home with specific instructions about when to follow up and the care of your incisions and devices.

Recovery after surgery is a gradual process. Recovery time varies depending on the procedure, your general health, your age, and other factors. Your doctor may ask you to avoid strenuous activities or heavy lifting for about a month after surgery. Most people return to light to moderate activities within a few weeks.

How will I feel after the deep brain stimulation device implantation?

You may have pain, swelling and tenderness at the device placement sites for several days after the surgery. Over-the-counter and prescription pain medicines can reduce discomfort. Ask your doctor before taking any pain medication and only take pain medication as directed. Call your doctor if your pain is not well controlled by your medication. 

When will deep brain stimulation treatment begin?

Your deep brain stimulation treatment begins when your doctor activates your neurostimulator. This sends electrical signals to your lead. Your doctor may do this before you leave the hospital or a few weeks after the implantation surgery. 

Your doctor will need to see you for several appointments over the following weeks and months. Your doctor will make adjustments to ensure that your neurostimulator is treating your muscle movement problems effectively.

When should I call my doctor?

It is important to keep your follow-up appointments after deep brain stimulation device implantation. Contact your doctor for questions and concerns between appointments.

Call your doctor right away or seek immediate medical care if you have:

  • Fever. A low-grade fever (lower than 101 degrees Fahrenheit) is common for a couple of days after surgery and not necessarily a sign of a surgical infection. However, you should follow your doctor's specific instructions about when to call for a fever.
  • Neurological symptoms or problems including dizziness, paralysis, tingling, confusion, change in level of consciousness or alertness, and problems with speech, vision, coordination and balance
  • Pain including neck pain or stiff neck, chest pain, or belly pain
  • Respiratory or breathing problems such as shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, labored breathing, or wheezing
  • Unexpected drainage, pus, bleeding, redness or swelling of your incisions

How might deep brain stimulation affect my everyday life?

Deep brain stimulation will not cure the underlying disease causing your movement problems, but it can significantly improve symptoms, such as tremors, walking problems, and rigidity. It can also decrease your need for some medications, which reduces side effects.&