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Deep Brain Stimulation

See the Transformation

Watch the intense tremors of essential tremor (ET) and Parkinson’s disease disappear with deep brain stimulation (DBS). If your medications aren’t working as well as they used to, DBS Therapy may be right for you.

DBS Therapy can relieve your movement systems

Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) helps control the movement symptoms of Parkinson's disease and essential tremor, including tremor, slowed movement and stiffness. More than 100,000 patients have received Medtronic DBS Therapy for certain neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease, dystonia, and essential tremor.*

* Medtronic, data on file

How DBS works

Deep Brain Stimulation uses a small, pacemaker-like device placed under the skin in the chest to send electrical signals to an area in the brain that controls movement. These signals block some of the brain messages that cause the movement symptoms of Parkinson's disease and essential tremor.

This 24-hour therapy puts you in control

For many people, DBS makes a difference when even small tasks have become challenging. DBS Therapy helps some people stay as independent as possible and keep doing the activities they love.

Control more than tremor

DBS treats tremor as well as other movement symptoms of Parkinson's disease, including slowed movement (bradykinesia) and stiffness (rigidity).

Use less medication

DBS may reduce your need for Parkinson's medication [1], along with medication-related side effects like unintended movements.

Get more hours in your day

Compared to medications alone, DBS Therapy provides additional hours of good movement control each day [1]. What would you do with yours?

Personalize your therapy

DBS can be wirelessly programmed to best control your symptoms. A controller allows you to turn the system on and off, adjust the stimulation, and check the battery.

Resume favorite activities

DBS Therapy improves quality of life more than medications alone [1]. Symptom control may help you continue taking care of family, working, or participating more fully in vacations, weddings and other events.

Ensure you can get an MRI

All Medtronic DBS systems are designed so that you can, with proper safeguards, get a magnetic resonance image (MRI) head scan to diagnose headache, seizures, stroke or other conditions.

Make daily routines easier

Good movement control with DBS makes it easier to do everyday things like writing, bathing and dressing, and drinking and eating.

Keep your options open

DBS will not reduce your future therapy options. It is reversible and the system can be removed. You can continue medications and take advantage of new treatments, or even a cure.

[1] Medtronic DBS Therapy for Parkinson's Disease and Essential Tremor Clinical Summary, 2013.

When is Deep Brain Stimulation Therapy the right choice?

Five key questions:

1. Have you been diagnosed with Parkinson's for at least 4 years?

2. Are there times when medication is not helping enough when you experience symptoms?

3. Do you experience troubling involuntary excessive movements (dyskinesias)?

4. Do you typically take dopaminergic drugs (Levodopa, Sinemet*, Stalevo*, Parcopa*)?

5. After trying several drug combinations, do you experience sleepiness, nausea, hallucinations, confusion/other thinking problems, lightheadedness when standing or behavioral/personality changes?

*Sinemet is a registered trademark of Merck and Co., Inc., Stalevo a registered trademark of Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, Parcopa a registered trademark of SRZ Properties, Inc.

If you answered yes to any of these questions, make an appointment to see if Medtronic DBS Therapy is right for you.

A pioneering center in Deep Brain Stimulation

The NeuroMedical Center (NMC) in Baton Rouge, Louisiana offers the area's first and only Deep Brain Stimulation program for patients living with Parkinson's disease and essential tremor. Since 2007, The NeuroMedical Center Clinic has performed nearly 300 successful DBS surgeries.

The NeuroMedical Center is the largest treatment and research center for neurological disorders in Louisiana. Through a team approach, our neurosurgeons, neurologists, pain medicine/physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) physicians, neuropsychologists, and neuroradiologists offer the full range of treatment options for your specific neurological condition or disorder.

Our clinical research department is actively engaged in promising clinical trials for Parkinson's and other neurological disorders and conditions and can provide more information on upcoming and ongoing clinical trials.

Help us track your progress

The Symptom Tracker helps us determine when the time is right for Deep Brain Stimulation. It's an easy way for you to help us understand when you take medications, when you are feeling well - and when you aren't.

Get the support you need

Medtronic offers a program that helps Parkinson's patients make informed decisions about Deep Brain Stimulation Therapy.

• Watch a webinar and receive materials about DBS

• Get a free phone consultation with a DBS therapy nurse

• Sign up for emails with pertinent therapy information

• Connect one-on-one with a current DBS Therapy patient

Watch DBS Therapy in action

See how DBS can help control the movement symptoms of Parkinson's.

The right time for DBS: Parkinson's treatment

Parkinson's treatment options

How DBS works

What to expect with DBS


Is Deep Brain Stimulation the treatment that Michael J. Fox has?

No. The popular actor, who has had Parkinson's for more than 20 years, underwent a different kind of brain surgery. The Michael J. Fox Foundation is an important source of information about Parkinson's and a major supporter of research toward a cure.

Will DBS prevent me from trying new treatments or cures?

No, DBS will not reduce your future therapy options. It is reversible and can be removed.

Is DBS just for tremor?

No, DBS also treats stiffness and slow or absent movement.

Is DBS my last resort?

No. The window of opportunity for DBS opens when your body isn't responding to medication as well as it used to - but before medication stops working entirely. If you wait too long, this window closes.

How long will it take for Deep Brain Stimulation to work after my surgery?

Typically, a Deep Brain Stimulation system is activated after you've healed from surgery. Your symptoms may decrease at that time. Optimal results are usually achieved after a few programming sessions, which may take several months.

What does the stimulation feel like?

Most people don't feel the stimulation at all. Some people describe a brief tingling sensation when the stimulation is turned on. Higher levels of stimulation have been described as uncomfortable. If this happens to you, contact your doctor at The NeuroMedical Center immediately.

Does the DBS system make any noise?


Will I be able to resume normal daily activities?

For the first few weeks after surgery, you should avoid strenuous activity, arm movements over your shoulder, and excessive stretching of your neck. You may gradually want to try activities that had become difficult before your surgery. Talk with your doctor first and be sure to follow all of your doctor's instructions.

Will the neurostimulator show through my clothes?

Depending on your body type, the neurostimulator may be noticeable as a small bulge under the skin. However, your doctor will try to place the neurostimulator in a place that is most comfortable and cosmetically acceptable.

Will I be able to change the strength of stimulation?

In most cases, only your doctor at The NeuroMedical Center in Louisiana can change the strength of stimulation. Depending on the type of neurostimulator you have, you may be able to choose from a range of stimulation settings that your doctor has programmed for you.

Will my insurance cover DBS?

The current national policy provides coverage for Medicare beneficiaries who qualify as candidates for DBS. Medicare does not require prior approval before an implant, but you must meet Medicare's criteria in order for the procedure to be covered. You will still pay deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments. Typically, your doctor will work with private insurance companies to obtain prior approval. This process normally requires that your doctor send a letter of medical necessity to the insurance company. This letter explains why DBS is appropriate for you. It also describes the other treatments that have been attempted and failed. It is not uncommon for an insurance company to deny a request for prior approval if they are unfamiliar with the treatment. If you receive a denial and wish to appeal, resources are available to guide you and your doctor through this process.

Is it safe to have medical tests with the system implanted?

Consult your doctor at The NeuroMedical Center before engaging in any medical treatment or diagnostic test (for example, MRI, mammograms, electrocautery, or heart defibrillation). Diathermy (deep heat treatment) should not be permitted under any circumstances

Will I be able to have an MRI scan with a Deep Brain Stimulation system?

Someday you may need a magnetic resonance image (MRI) head scan to diagnose the cause of a common condition, such as hearing loss, headache, vision problems, seizures, tumors, or stroke. When you have an implanted electronic device, however, you have to be careful about MRI scans. The good news is that all Medtronic Deep Brain Stimulation systems are designed so that an MRI head scan is possible with proper safeguards. In fact, only Medtronic offers DBS systems that are FDA-approved for MRI head scans, under specific conditions of use. Talk to your doctor if an MRI scan is prescribed for you..

Can stimulation be used during pregnancy?

The safety and effectiveness of this therapy have not been established for patients who are pregnant.

What are the risks associated with this type of treatment?

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. Talk with your doctor about the risks that may be applicable to your specific situation.

Is this a permanent procedure?

Medtronic Deep Brain Stimulation Therapy is a reversible procedure. It is also adjustable, which means that the stimulation can be adjusted to match changes in your symptoms. The system can also be deactivated or even removed. Removal would require additional surgery.

What happens if the neurostimulator stops working?

Your symptoms will return. If you can't determine the possible cause and correct the problem, contact your doctor at The NeuroMedical Center in Louisiana.

How long will the neurostimulator battery last?

On average, and depending on programmed settings, an ActivaTM SC or ActivaTM PC neurostimulator battery lasts three to five years. The rechargeable neurostimulator lasts for nine years.

What happens when my neurostimulator is ready to be replaced?

Before your battery runs out, you'll need to replace the neurostimulator through a surgical procedure. The DBS Therapy leads and extensions can typically stay in place and be reconnected to the new neurostimulator.