DBS Therapy for dystonia* is a long-term symptom treatment that requires ongoing 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.


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.

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.

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

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.

If you experience any unusual symptoms that you think may be related to your neurostimulator, contact your doctor.

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 or Use Caution During DBS

Loss of coordination is a potential side effect of DBS therapy.  Patients should exercise reasonable caution when participating in activities requiring coordination, including those that they were able to perform prior to receiving DBS therapy (eg, swimming).

For the most part, everyday activities shouldn't interfere with or damage your DBS system. Here are some common ones to avoid.  See your patient manual for a full list.


Avoid activities that could place stress on the implanted components of your DBS system.  Activities that include sudden, excessive, or repetitive bending, twisting or stretching may cause parts of your system to break or move.  Talk with your doctor about what activities are safe for you.


Walking through some theft detectors or security gates, like those at airports and department stores, may increase the stimulation or turn off your neurostimulator.

Before walking through a security gate, show your Medtronic Device Identification Card to security and request a hand search.  If a security wand is used, ask the security personnel to avoid placing it over your neurostimulator.

If you must pass through a gate, walk through the center at a normal pace, and don't lean on or linger at the gate.


Most household appliances and electronic devices that work properly and are properly grounded, like computers, will not interfere with your deep brain stimulation system.


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.