Living with a DBS implant

Programming and follow-up

A few weeks after surgery, your doctor will turn on the neurostimulator and adjust it to best control your symptoms while minimizing side effects. It may take a few programming sessions to find the stimulation levels that work best for you, so don’t get discouraged if it takes some time. You will attend periodic check-ups with your doctor to best control your symptoms, adjust stimulation, and check the battery level of your device to monitor for a replacement.

Once you find the programming that is best for you, expect to resume many of your normal daily activities with less tremor, and less disability.1

Using your DBS programmer

You will be provided with instructions for using the programmer that accompanies your DBS device.

If you have an Activa™ rechargeable device, you will need to check your battery regularly. 

A man checks his phone

Have all your checkups.

Be sure to attend all the scheduled checkups with the doctor who manages your DBS therapy. Tell your doctor if your essential tremor symptoms have changed.

At each checkup, your doctor will:

  • Make sure that your DBS system is working properly

  • Adjust your stimulation to best control your symptoms

  • Check the battery of your neurostimulator to see if you will soon need a device replacement

Know when to call your doctor. 

If you feel like something is not right with your therapy, or you're not getting relief from your symptoms, you should call your doctor. Call Medtronic patient services with questions about your implanted device at 800-510-6735, Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT. If you have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.

When to call your doctor:

  • If you experience pain, redness, or swelling on your scalp, neck, or chest

  • If there is no symptom relief when the neurostimulator is turned on

  • If there is pain or discomfort during stimulation. (Turn off your neurostimulator before you call.) 

  • If you experience unexpected changes in your essential tremor symptoms

  • If you’ve lost your patient programmer or any charging system component

Sample Medtronic patient ID card that identifies a patient's implanted devices

Sample Medtronic patient ID card that identifies a patient's implanted devices

Identification card 

Always carry a card that identifies you as having an implanted device.

Your doctor’s office will send Medtronic the information necessary for you to receive your patient identification card. This information is also used to track your implanted device, which is an FDA requirement. If your address, phone, or physician changes, you are responsible for updating your information on file.

Caring for your device

After a neurostimulator is implanted, there are some activities you want to approach with caution. 

About daily activities

Hear from an ambassador

Request a call from a patient volunteer who is happy to talk about their experience.

Schedule a call

Understand your programmer 

See how to work with your programmer.

Get the details

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.


As reported by patients. Medtronic DBS Therapy for Parkinson’s Disease and Essential Tremor Clinical Summary, 2015.