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Deep Brain Stimulation FAQs

Who qualifies for deep brain stimulation (DBS)?

The ideal DBS candidate is someone with a severe movement disorder that is no longer controlled with medication. The patient's state of mind is also important. Patients with dementia or severe cognitive problems are not good candidates for DBS.

DBS is highly effective for patients with:

Physicians are currently researching DBS as a treatment for other conditions, as well:


Will DBS cure my movement disorder?

No. DBS is not a cure for any disease. It is a treatment option that evens out the peaks and valleys that people with movement disorders experience: alternating between frozen and uncontrolled movements (dyskinesia). DBS gives you greater motion control and can reduce the number of medications you need, along with associated side effects.

Why must I be awake during surgery?

It's important for our team to know that the electrodes are working before a patient leaves the operating room. Therefore, patients are kept sedated, but awake and able to respond to doctors during the procedure.

This approach has other benefits, too. General anesthesia can have unwanted neurological effects, important to avoid during brain surgery. Plus, avoiding general anesthesia shortens your hospital stay. In fact, most DBS patients go home the next day.

Will I still be able to see my current doctor?

Even after you're referred to the SLUCare DBS team, your doctor can play an active role in your treatment. Our DBS physicians welcome your doctor's input at every stage of your care. Through teleconferencing, your doctor can consult with our team before or even during surgery. Our neurologist will also provide your doctor with instructions for follow-up care, so you can receive post-surgical treatment close to home.

What should I expect in terms of follow-up care?

After DBS surgery, our neurologist and nurse practitioner work together to program the generator for optimal movement control. You will continue to visit the doctor for adjustments, as needed. We may also recommend that you work with a physical or occupational therapist as you move off of your medications and into a post-surgical recovery. Our goal is to eliminate the need for most medications.

Finally, you will need to have the battery in the generator replaced every 4-6 years. This is a simple procedure that takes only about 20 minutes.


Still have questions?

For more information or to refer a patient, call us at 314-977-6082.