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Questions and Answers – Getting a Neurostimulator


Will people be able to see that I have a neurostimulator?

Your doctor will try to put the neurostimulator in a place that is cosmetically acceptable and most comfortable for you when sitting, standing, etc. However, depending on your build, the neurostimulator may be noticeable as a small bump under the skin.

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What does the stimulation feel like?

Most people report they do not feel the stimulation. Call your doctor if you notice any long-lasting pulsating, uncomfortable stimulation, or both, in your abdominal area.

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Will gastric electrical stimulation limit my normal activities?

Generally, no. However, depending upon where the neurostimulator is placed, the device may hinder sharp bending of the body. Please discuss your physical activities with your doctor and ask how they may affect your neurostimulator.

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Can a microwave, cordless phone, or mobile phone interfere with my neurostimulator?

It is unlikely to affect the operation of the neurostimulator, but do keep at least 4 inches between them and the neurostimulator.

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Will I encounter problems when I pass through security screening devices and theft detectors?

When approaching security screening devices and theft detectors in airports, stores, libraries, and other public buildings, request to bypass these devices if at all possible. They may interfere with your neurostimulator function or detect its metal case.

Always carry your Medtronic device registration card with you and present it to security staff to obtain clearance. If they use a handheld security wand, ask them to move the wand over the neurostimulator as quickly as possible.

Point out the location of your neurostimulator so that testing can be performed quickly. If you must pass through the security screening device or theft detector, follow these precautions:

  • If the security gate has two sides, simply walk through the centre of the gate, keeping as far away as possible from each side
  • If a security device has only one side, walk as far away as possible from it
  • Do not linger near or lean on a theft detector or security screening device

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How often should my doctor check the neurostimulator?

A typical follow-up schedule often includes office visits at 1, 3, and 6 months after the surgery; and then every 6 to 12 months. However, your doctor may want to see you more or less often, depending on your situation.

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How is the neurostimulator replaced?

When the battery in your neurostimulator runs down, your doctor will obtain prior authorisation from your NHS Trust and approval for a replacement surgery. Then he or she will schedule a surgical procedure for you. The doctor will remove the neurostimulator and implant a new one.

During the surgery, the doctor should also check your implanted leads to make sure they are working properly. If they are, the new neurostimulator will be connected to the leads that are already in place. If the leads are not working as they should be, they will be replaced too.

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Whom should I contact in case I have a problem?

Your first call should always be to your doctor. Call your doctor if you have questions or problems concerning your device or medical condition.

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When should I contact my doctor?

Contact your doctor if any of the following events occur:

  • You have pain, redness, or swelling at the incision later than 6 weeks after surgery.
  • You have new or unusual abdominal pain, cramping, nausea, or vomiting at any time after surgery.
  • You are experiencing an increase in your nausea or vomiting. The neurostimulator may simply require readjustment to a different therapy setting, or there could be a problem with the lead or neurostimulator. Your doctor should be able to determine the cause of the problem and correct it.

The Enterra™ Therapy system for gastric electrical stimulation is authorised for use in treatment of chronic intractable (drug refractory) nausea and vomiting secondary to gastroparesis of diabetic or idiopathic etiology. The effectiveness of this device for this use 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.