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Go to the nearest emergency department or call 911 if you have any of the following:

  • Any sudden or unexpected change in your health
  • A seizure
  • Signs of infection
  • Sudden severe change in thinking, such as confusion, hallucinations or memory loss
  • ​Sudden change in mood, especially depression or any strange behaviour
  • ​​Thoughts of suicide or self-harm

​Taking care at home after DBS surgery

At home, your medications will remain the same until your DBS is turned on.

In the weeks following surgery, you may feel a temporary improvement in your symptoms, even though your DBS system has not been turned on yet. This is due to swelling caused by the electrodes. As the swelling goes away, your symptoms will likely return.

Please allow 4 to 6 weeks to recover from the surgery. Then you may return to your usual activities. Please talk with us if you have any questions or concerns about returning to work.

Incision (cuts)

  • Your incisions will have staples and will be covered with bandages.
  • You will need to remove the bandages 3 days after your IPG is inserted in your chest. These sites can be left without a dressing.
  • Keep your incision sites dry. Do not put on creams, lotions or ointments to the area.
  • Keep your head covered by wearing a scarf or a loose fitting hat when you go outside.
  • Never touch, scratch or apply any pressure on the incision sites.

Hygiene (such as bathing and showering)

  • You can take a shower and wash your hair with mild soap or shampoo 4 days after your last surgery.
  • Do not soak your incisions in water for the first 4 weeks after your surgery. This means you cannot soak in a bathtub or go swimming.
  • Make sure your hats, bed linen, pillows and wigs are clean.
  • Stop pets from going close to your incisions and wash your hands well after touching them.
  • Wash hands frequently.
  • Do not dye your hair or use a hair dryer until after you see your neurosurgeon after the surgery.

Physical Activity

  • ​Do not lift anything heavier than 5 pounds (or 2.5 kilograms) with your left arm, right arm or both arms for 3 weeks. This depends on where your IPG stimulator was put in.
  • Don't play sports or do tiring activities for 3 weeks.
  • After 3 weeks, you can start to increase your activity level as much as you can handle.
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Don’t ever do any activity that could overheat your stimulator (such as using tanning beds, hot tubs, saunas and steam rooms) until your incisions are completely healed.​

Signs of infection

Look at your incisions every day and watch for these signs of infection:

Signs of infection

  • Redness or swelling at your incision site that is getting worse
  • Leaking (e.g., yellow or green-like pus) from your incision
  • Bleeding from your incision
  • Pain at your incision that does not go away
  • Fever, a temperature over 38 ° Celsius (or 101 ° Fahrenheit)

What to do

If you notice any of these signs or symptoms, please tell your neurosurgeon, nurse coordinator or nurse practitioner as soon a possible.

​It is important to check mood and behaviour after surgery and after DBS programming sessions. You or your family members need to report any changes to your health care providers.

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