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Discussing Deep Brain Stimulation With Your Doctor

Questions to Ask Your Doctor About DBS

Each person’s situation is unique, and many factors can impact a person’s response to deep brain stimulation (DBS). As you consider DBS, discuss your expectations about DBS with your physician. This is very important to both you and your physician. Your physician will help you set realistic expectations about the surgery and benefits of a DBS system.

Before you meet with your doctor

  • Write down questions to bring with you.
  • Be ready to take notes to help you remember important points.

You can use the following questions/statements to prepare for your discussion with your physician:

  • The thing that most frustrates me about having a movement disorder is…
  • The side effect and problem with my medication(s) that bothers me most is…
  • After having DBS, I would really like to be able to…
  • I would consider DBS successful if I could…
  • I would be disappointed if DBS did not do these things for me…
  • The thing I am most concerned about regarding DBS is…
  • The thing my caregiver is most concerned about regarding DBS is…

When you meet with your doctor, ask:

  • About the severity of your condition
  • What therapies may be best for you
  • What to expect when you receive a therapy
  • Other patients’ experiences with DBS
  • What improvements you can expect with DBS
  • Limitations you may have with DBS
  • How often you will have to return for follow-up visits
  • When you can expect to see symptom improvements
  • How often you will have to be seen for programming
  • How often you will need to have your system replaced
  • If you will need to have additional surgeries

Tell your doctor about your expectations for DBS, including:

  • Your understanding of how DBS works and the implant procedure
  • The risks and potential complications
  • What would make DBS successful for you and your family members
  • What you are most concerned about regarding DBS
  • The thing that most frustrates you about having a movement disorder

During your discussion, your doctor should give you a clear explanation of your condition and treatment options, as well as the risks and benefits of each option.

Talking with your family, friends and others in your life can also provide welcome support. The decision to undergo DBS is significant for all of you. Consider bringing a friend or family member to your doctor appointments to take notes and help you process the information.