Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) is a surgical procedure for treatment of Parkinson’s Disease. Electrodes are implanted into the brain, which are connected through wires to a pacemaker like device placed under the skin of your chest. Just likes in any other surgery, your body will need time to heal after the surgery. Recovery usually takes from 6 to 8 weeks but it may vary from patient to patient. With time, you will get used to living with the DBS system and will be able to more things than you were capable of doing before the surgery. Consult your doctor to find the suitable time for your recovery.
There are a few things you need to take care of after your surgery to get the best results and prevent complications:
The First 24 Hours After Surgery
- You will monitored closely for any signs of complications
- You can get up, move around and even eat a meal under regulated environment
- Headache or pain may occur after few hours of surgery and appropriate medication will be provided
- In rare cases, if the headache may not disappear and the patient may experience blurred vision, immediate medical attention is required
- During the first 24 hours, exhaustion and mild confusion is quite common which generally subsides
You will be required to stay in the hospital for the initial week after the surgery. The length of the stay largely depends on the surgery center’s policy, complications in the first 24 hours and the recovery status. Usually, patients leave within a week but if there are any complications, they may have to stay for longer.
When you get back home after the surgery, the first few weeks are usually exciting while the patients get familiar to the DBS system. Patients experience improvement in the activities and they return back to their normal life. But the first month should be purely dedicated to recovery and healing of your mind and body. You can expect complete recovery in the first month itself if there are no underlying ailments to reduce the recovery speed.
Prevention of Infections
Deep Brain Stimulation is a surgical procedure which involves cuts and incisions in your brain and your chest area. One of the most important things to take care of is preventing any infection. Usually, appropriate medication is provided to prevent infections and improve healing. But you should take care of your hygiene especially in the region of cuts and incisions. A diet list will be provided by your medical professional filtering out the foods that may promote infection.
On individual level, take care of these things to prevent infection:
- Always keep the incision are clean and dry.
- Wash your hands with disinfectants before touching the incision area.
- Try to cover your head with a hat or head covering, and keep it clean and dry.
- Do not wear clothes that may increase chances of sweat.
- Avoid using lotions or creams on or around the incision area unless instructed by your medical professional.
- Do not put pressure on the area surrounding incision area. While travelling in a car, try to put a soft cloth to prevent pressure of the car seat belt on your chest.
- As the skin heals, it will eventually dry out and peel on its own. Do not try to peel the skin on your own even if it feels irritable or itchy.
Identify common signs of infection as mentioned below and call for medical help immediately:
- A fever of 37.8°C or higher
- Redness in and around the region of the cuts and incision
- Excessive pain in the surgery region
- Any fluid drainage like blood or puss
Do’s and Don’ts
Your medical professional will provide specific list with all the instructions and activities you need to perform as well as the activities you should not do. Patients generally resume their normal activities after the first week of the surgery but it should be done only with the consultation from your medical professional. Try to be strict with the restrictions even if you feel like your body has healed.Families of younger patients should restrict physical games or activities which are rigorous in nature. Do not let stretching of the wound area.
Focus on healing
Healing after the surgery involves both physical and mental aspects. It is important to participate fully in your healing process because it will help you get back to your normal life and adjusting the device faster.
- Try to cop-up with the slight discomfort that you may feel in the area of implants.
- Strictly follow your medication routine and keep a backup stock of all medications in your travel bag or purse.
- Get plenty of sleep and eat only healthy food
- Prevent intake of alcohol and fast food
- Do not remove the bandages on your own
Involve your caregivers in the process
It is always beneficial to be in presence of a caregiver even after the DBS surgery. You should inform them about each and every update related to your surgery and add them to your emergency list. Involving them will help you keep accurate track of your recovery and provide emergency support. It is suggested to appoint a helper for yourself if affordable who will do these things:
- Attend your doctor appointments
- Keep track of your medications
- Be present in case of an emergency
- Observe signs of risks and complications
- Maintain your schedule of consultation appointments and tests
- Give you some good company
Life after Deep Brain Stimulation treatment and more than 95% of patients experience improvement in quality of their life. By keeping in mind these things, you will recover faster and prevent unwanted health complications.
Disclaimer–The above provided content is only for informational purpose. Consult your medical professional before implementing any of the steps or tips.