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Questions and Answers – Getting DBS Therapy

Essential Tremor

Am I a candidate for Medtronic Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) Therapy for essential tremor?

DBS is not right for everyone. Only a doctor experienced with DBS can determine whether or not you are a candidate.

DBS may be right for you if:

  • You experience troubling side effects from medication, such as sleepiness, dizziness, or thinking problems
  • You have tried medications, but symptoms of essential tremor interfere with your activities of daily living
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What is the typical length of hospitalisation for tests, procedure, and recovery?

Most people spend a couple of days at the hospital. Healing can take several weeks. You will have pain medications for any discomfort you may have at the incision sites.

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What does the stimulation feel like?

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How is the stimulation adjusted?

Your clinician programs your stimulation levels wirelessly. The process is a noninvasive way of adjusting stimulation to meet your symptom control needs.

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Does the Medtronic DBS System make any noise?


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Is it safe to have medical procedures with the system implanted?

Consult your doctor before any medical treatment or diagnostic test (for example, MRI, mammograms, electrocautery, or heart defibrillation). You should not have diathermy (deep heat treatment) under any circumstances.

Medtronic provides the first safe access to MRI anywhere on the body with some DBS systems under certain conditions—giving your doctor an important tool for diagnosis. 

Medtronic DBS systems are MR Conditional which means they are safe for MRI scans only under certain conditions. If the conditions are not met, the MRI could cause tissue heating especially at the implanted lead(s) in the brain which may result in serious and permanent injury or death. Before having an MRI, always talk with the doctor who manages your DBS Therapy to determine your eligibility and discuss potential benefits and risks of MRI. For further information, please call the Medtronic DBS Helpline on +44 (0) 1923 205101.

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Can other people see the components of the DBS System?

Depending on your body build, the neurostimulator may be noticeable as a small bulge under the skin. It typically isn't noticeable under clothes. There also may be a slight bump on the top of your head, but it usually isn't visible under hair.

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.