Questions and Answers About Getting Therapy Deep Brain Stimulation for Dystonia

Am I a candidate for Medtronic DBS Therapy for dystonia?

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

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What is the typical length of hospitalization 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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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.

See MRI information about deep brain stimulation for dystonia.

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What is the cost of Medtronic DBS Therapy for dystonia?

The total cost varies significantly. Please contact your healthcare provider for an estimate of the costs associated with DBS Therapy.

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Will my insurance cover DBS Therapy?

Coverage for DBS is typically on a case-by-case basis for Medicare and private payers. Humanitarian Device Exemption (HDE) products are eligible for Medicare coverage if the treatment is provided by a site that has institutional review board approval. Please contact your insurance company to see if your health plan provides coverage.

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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.


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.

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 Medtronic at 800-328-0810.

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.