|Frequently Asked Questions|
Will the neurostimulator show through my clothes?
Depending on body build, the neurostimulator may be noticeable as a small bulge under the skin. However, the doctor will try to place the neurostimulator in a place that is most comfortable and cosmetically acceptable.
How long will it take for the DBS Therapy to work after the implant procedure?
Typically, the neurostimulator is not activated until patients have healed from the surgery. Symptoms may decrease at that time. Optimal results are usually achieved after the clinician who programs the device has gone through multiple programming sessions. This process may take several months.
Is this a permanent procedure?
Deep Brain Stimulation is a reversible procedure. It is also adjustable, which means that the stimulation can be adjusted to match changes in symptoms over time. The system can also be deactivated or even removed. Removal would require additional surgery.
What does the stimulation feel like?
Most people don't feel the stimulation at all as it reduces their symptoms. However, some people may feel a brief tingling sensation when the stimulation is first turned on.
Does the brain stimulation system make any noise?
No, the brain stimulation does not make any noise.
Will I be able to increase or decrease the strength of stimulation?
In most cases, only the doctor can change the strength of stimulation. However, depending on the type of neurostimulator used, patients may be able to choose from a range of pre-programmed stimulation settings.
Is it safe to have medical tests with the system implanted?
Patients should consult their doctor before engaging in any medical treatment or diagnostic tests, for example MRI, mammograms, electrocautery or heart defibrillation. Diathermy, deep heat treatment, should not be permitted under any circumstances.
What should I do if the stimulation changes or becomes uncomfortable?
Stimulation should not be uncomfortable. Patients feeling any discomfort should contact their doctor immediately.
Does insurance cover DBS Therapy?
Medicare Coverage: The current national policy provides coverage for Medicare beneficiaries who qualify as candidates for DBS. (Medicare does not require prior approval before an implant, although you must meet Medicare's criteria in order for the procedure to be covered.) You will still pay deductibles, coinsurance and copayments.
Insurance Coverage: Typically, the doctor will work with private insurance companies to obtain prior approval. This process normally requires that the 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.
Insurance plans and coverage differ. Speak with your insurance provider to discuss your coverage and for an estimate regarding your procedure.