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Questions and Answers – DBS Therapy


What is Medtronic Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) Therapy for Parkinson's?

DBS from Medtronic offers an adjustable, reversible surgical method of treatment for Parkinson's.

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How does the treatment work?

DBS uses a surgically implanted medical device, similar to a cardiac pacemaker, to deliver electrical stimulation to the parts of the brain that control movement. Stimulation of these areas blocks the signals that cause the disabling motor symptoms of Parkinson's. As a result, individuals may achieve greater control over their body movements.

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What are the implanted components of the Medtronic DBS System?

The DBS System consists of three implanted components:

  • Two leads implanted in the brain
  • Two extensions threaded under the skin from the head, down the neck and into the upper chest
  • One (Activa® RC, Activa PC) or two (Activa SC) neurostimulators implanted beneath the skin in the chest below the collarbone and connected to the extensions
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Is it possible to adjust the device settings?

The device settings and stimulation levels can be adjusted noninvasively by a clinician using a programming device. With an Activa RC, Activa PC, or Activa SC system, your clinician may allow you to adjust your settings with the DBS patient programmer.

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What benefits does DBS offer?

Although there is no cure for Parkinson's, DBS has been proven to reduce some of the symptoms associated with Parkinson's.1

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What are the potential risks of DBS?

Risks of DBS can include risks of surgery, side effects, or device complications. Please see Important Safety Information for more details.

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What is the history of DBS?

Neurologists and neurosurgeons have used electrical stimulation since the 1960s as a way to locate and distinguish specific sites in the brain. Medtronic developed brain stimulation technology in the 1980s in conjunction with leading international physician researchers.

Medtronic DBS Therapy is currently approved to treat symptoms of Parkinson’s, essential tremor, dystonia,* and obsessive-compulsive disorder.* Since 1997, more than 100,000 patients worldwide have benefited from Medtronic DBS Therapy.2

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Does DBS cure Parkinson's disease?

There is no cure for Parkinson's at this time. DBS Therapy may reduce some of the symptoms of Parkinson's1, but does not cure the underlying condition. If the treatment is discontinued, your symptoms will return.

Watch DBS in Action

*Humanitarian Use Device: The effectiveness of this device for the treatment of dystonia or obsessive-compulsive disorder has not been established.



Medtronic DBS Therapy for Parkinson's and Essential Tremor Clinical Summary, 2009.


Data on file at Medtronic, Inc.

Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.