After Surgery Deep Brain Stimulation for Dystonia

Overview

DBS Therapy for dystonia* is a long-term symptom treatment that requires on-going involvement from you and your healthcare team to be successful. Following the implantation of the Medtronic DBS system, you’ll work closely with your team to make sure the therapy meets your specific needs.


Recovery

The length of hospitalization for implantation of the DBS system varies, but is often just a few days for the pre-operative tests and implant surgery.

After your surgery, your doctor or nurse will give you instructions about care at home. These instructions often include information about medications, the healing process after surgery, and when to return to your daily activities.

Most individuals recover quickly and experience little discomfort while healing. However, doctors advise against overexertion for several weeks after implantation.

Your doctor will decide when to turn on your neurostimulator. It's usually turned on after healing is complete (several weeks).


Healing

Making a full recovery from surgery is a process that can take several weeks. During the healing process, you will feel some discomfort at the incision sites on your scalp, and at the implant site(s) for the neurostimulator(s). If you notice unusual symptoms, contact your doctor.


Daily Activities and Exercise

During your recovery, follow your doctor's instructions about activities that include bending your neck, raising your arms over your shoulders, or strenuous activities like lifting heavy objects.


Checkups and Monitoring

You may not experience immediate symptom relief from the treatment. In fact, it may take 12 to 18 months after the procedure to reach maximum effect. Visits to your clinic for initial programming after surgery and periodic adjustments are a routine part of DBS therapy.

During these checkups, your doctor may evaluate your comfort and range of motion in the area of the neurostimulator and extension. You may also have an X-ray to check placement of the neurostimulation system.


Adjusting Stimulation Levels

Your clinician will program your neurostimulator to best manage your symptoms while minimizing side effects. Follow-up appointments will be scheduled to achieve the best symptom control for you. It may require several visits to adjust the stimulation before the right settings are determined.


Activities to Avoid

While receiving DBS Therapy, be careful when participating in activities that may result in accidents or falls. Sudden jerky movements may cause the lead(s) in your brain to move. Falls may damage parts of the implanted Medtronic DBS system. Surgery may be needed to replace any damaged DBS system parts.


*Humanitarian Device - Authorized by Federal Law as an aid in the management of chronic, intractable (drug refractory) primary dystonia, including generalized and/or segmental dystonia, hemidystonia, and cervical dystonia (torticollis), in patients seven years of age or above. The effectiveness of the devices for treating these conditions has not been demonstrated.


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.