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What are realistic outcomes for deep brain stimulation?

Patients who undergo deep brain stimulation (DBS) therapy should realize that DBS will not cure their condition. It merely is a treatment that may alleviate the symptoms of the condition. The patient also should be completely aware of the possible side effects and potential risks associated with DBS implantation.

Although generally very safe, DBS carries certain risks. One major risk is a potential for excessive bleeding, or hemorrhaging, resulting from damage to blood vessels. Brain tissue is quite delicate and navigating through the brain to implant a DBS device can be challenging. The probability of major damage caused by hemorrhaging is low, but the resulting complications from any hemorrhaging can be permanent and severe.

Another risk from DBS implantation surgery is infection. Problems caused by infection generally are treatable, but sometimes infections can cause serious problems.

Breakage of the device is also a possibility. Two primary causes of DBS device failure are movement of the electrode, or breaks in the extension wire.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.