Programming the DBS

Unlike other surgeries, implanting of a DBS is just the start of your treatment. The DBS works best when the electrical pulses to the brain are carefully adjusted. This requires several visits to the programming neurologist. The neurologist may also adjust your medicines while adjusting the DBS.

Initial Programming

Careful programming of the DBS is important .You will be asked to come to your first programming visit without taking your medicines the night before the visit. We will check the Pacemaker in your chest (also called the “Battery Pack”) to make sure it is working. All of the contacts in each implant will be checked. This first visit may last one hour or more. When the DBS setting has been chosen, you will be asked to take your medicines and wait in the clinic. We can see if DBS and medications will combine without problems. A new medicine plan, possibly less than your usual dose before surgery, may be prescribed at the end of the visit.

Follow-up Programming

Follow-up visits for DBS programming may be scheduled as little as every several months (for a simple battery check in a stable patient) or as much as every week or two. Complications of DBS after the first programming may include problems with the device, or problems with the stimulation itself. Complications such as pain or unusual movements can be taken care of by adjusting the stimulation settings or turning off the unit. Patients can obtain an Access Review Device, which is similar to a TV remote, to turn the device on or off. Finally, medicines may need to be adjusted for best DBS results.

This information is provided for patient use and is only intended to serve as a general overview for this procedure. Any questions or concerns should be discussed directly with your physician(s).