Deep brain stimulation (DBS) helps control your movement symptoms when your medications aren't working as well as they used to. For many people with Parkinson's, DBS makes a difference when even small tasks have become challenging. DBS has helped some people stay as independent as possible and keep doing the activities they love.
While some people believe deep brain stimulation treats tremor (shaking) only, DBS also treats other movement symptoms of Parkinson's disease – slowed movement (bradykinesia) and stiffness (rigidity).
Shane shows his walk with his Medtronic DBS system off and on.
Gary shows the difference in his Parkinson's disease symptoms with his Medtronic DBS system turned off and on.
Compared to medications alone, DBS provides additional hours of good movement control each day.1
Good movement control makes it easier to do everyday things like writing, bathing and dressing, and drinking and eating.
At this point, you may be scheduling activities for the time during the day when the medications tend to be working better. You may have a narrow window for all that you need and want to do — like driving to the store or having lunch with a friend. With DBS, some people have been to able to get back to planning their lives around what they want to do, rather than around their medications.
Symptom control may help you continue to do what’s important to you, like taking care of family or continuing to work. Or participate more fully in an event like a vacation or a family wedding. For one woman, being able to hold her grandchildren meant everything.
So far, more than 135,000 people around the world have received Medtronic DBS. Each had his or her reasons for choosing DBS. What would yours be?
“DBS doesn’t make things exactly like they used to be, but it gives you a new life. It makes things possible.”
— AnnaView Her Story
As Parkinson's progresses over time, many people have to take more medications, more often. It can get hard to keep track of all the doses. The medications can also cause side effects like nausea, dizziness, and unintended movements (dyskinesia).
Medtronic DBS Therapy may reduce Parkinson's medication.1 This may reduce medication-related side effects like unintended movements. Less medication may also simplify your medication routine, with fewer pills or less frequent doses.
Waking up can be one of the toughest parts of the day since medications wear off overnight. While you are waiting for your first dose to kick in, you might feel stiff and find it hard to roll over in bed, stand up, or get dressed.
DBS delivers therapy 24 hours every day — it doesn't wear off while you sleep. It's already working the moment you wake up.
Unlike some other therapies used to treat Parkinson’s symptoms, the DBS system requires no daily cleaning or refilling; you can bathe, shower, and swim without worrying about your device; and you don’t have to carry or refrigerate supplies when away from home.
DBS Therapy is not for everyone, so it's important to talk with your doctor about the benefits and risks.
DBS Therapy requires brain surgery. Risks of brain surgery may include serious complications such as coma, bleeding inside the brain, seizures and infection. Some of these may be fatal. Once implanted, the system may become infected, parts may wear through your skin, and the lead or lead/extension connector may move. Medtronic DBS Therapy could stop suddenly because of mechanical or electrical problems. Any of these situations may require additional surgery or cause your symptoms to return.
Medtronic DBS Therapy may cause worsening of some motor symptoms associated with your movement disorder, and may cause speech and language impairments. Stimulation parameters may be adjusted to minimize side effects and attain maximum symptom control. In patients receiving Medtronic DBS Therapy, depression, suicidal thoughts, and suicide have been reported. Occurrence of falls has also been reported in patients with Parkinson's disease.
For complete safety information about Medtronic DBS Therapy, please consult your doctor, call Medtronic at 800-328-0810, or go to Important Safety Information.