What is Deep Brain Stimulation?

If you have an older adult family member with Parkinson’s disease, perhaps you’ve heard talk of a procedure called deep brain stimulation (DBS.) It’s a kind of surgery that is used to control certain symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. If your aging relative is considering DBS, knowing more about the procedure can help you to be better prepared and assist them with making better informed decisions about their health.

Elder Care in Boynton Beach FL: What is Deep Brain Stimulation?

Elder Care in Boynton Beach FL: What is Deep Brain Stimulation?

General DBS Information.

DBS is a surgery in which doctors implant electrodes into the patient’s brain through holes drilled in the skull. The electrodes send signals that help to correct abnormal impulses that cause symptoms like tremors and dyskinesia. In addition to implanting electrodes, a pacemaker-like device is put into the person’s chest. It is connected to the electrodes by a wire so that it can control how much and when electrical signals are sent.

DBS is usually only done on people who have had Parkinson’s disease for a minimum of four years and whose symptoms are still treatable with medications. Although the surgery is often successful in treating certain motor symptoms, including freezing, slowing, and tremor, it generally doesn’t work as well on non-motor symptoms, and poor balance.

Risks of DBS.

Like any surgery, DBS is not without risks. Although doctors consider it to be a generally safe procedure, there are complications that can arise, such as:

  • Brain bleeds.
  • Seizures.
  • Heart problems.
  • Infections.
  • Stroke.
  • Nausea.
  • Difficulty breathing.


There are also some side effects possible, including:

  • Headaches.
  • Confusion.
  • Problems with the hardware.
  • Pain and swelling where incisions were made.


After the Surgery.

People who have DBS need to continue taking their usual medications until the doctor says differently. It takes time for swelling due to surgery to go down and the device cannot be programmed until that happens. Usually, programming can take place within 2 to 4 weeks of surgery.

Programming takes place over a series of sessions as it takes time to get the device tuned to the individual. It usually takes about six months to complete the programming. After that, you should notice a change in symptoms and the doctor may adjust the senior’s medications accordingly.

Even with DBS, your aging relative may still need assistance to handle some day to day tasks. Elder care can assist with the recovery period after surgery and continue on afterward. Elder care providers can drive your family member to their programming sessions and help to take note of symptoms to report back to the doctor. In addition, elder care providers can help with things like making healthy meals, cleaning, laundry, and more.

If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Boynton Beach, FL, please call the caring staff at Activa Home Health Care at (561) 819-4112.  Serving Delray Beach, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Wellington, Jupiter, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Lauderhill, Coral Springs, Pompano Beach and surrounding communities.