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Sunday, August 19, 2012

The DBS Rechargeable Battery

I was stunned to read on a FB Parkinson's forum, that many Americans, many of whom have had DBS, were completely unaware of the rechargeable battery. This blog is to explain some facts for those confused or curious.
Medtronics & St Judes offer 2 choices when contemplating DBS; the regular, and the recharchable batteries for the neurostimulator. (Implanted device).
A few weeks before the surgery, my neurologist asked me which I would prefer. We decided on the rechargeable one as I hope to live til 80+ (hah!), and that would mean 2 surgeries (every 9 years), as opposed to 8 (every 3).
The differences? Well, now after the event, I see that this is a point for lots of thought.

The main differences are as follows;
The regular battery lasts about 3 years, and one needs not to worry about maintenance until the 3 years is up.
The rechargeable battery needs to be replaced every 9 years. (I said "7" at the Conference, but a Metronics rep came to listen to my talk, and corrected me afterwards.)
In addition, the battery needs to be charged every one to three weeks. (Both need surgery to replace the battery.)
This is where the confusion came in.... it reminded me of the myths of recharging my Prius car when I purchased it about 9 years ago, and it was a totally new concept. Did I need to plug it into a powerpoint? One person on the Parkinson's website jokingly suggested there may be a USB port to plug into a computer for those of us who spend too much time on it!
NO! There is a device that one has to cover the neurostimulator with, and this recharges the battery. (left) This may take an hour or 2, and I recommend you do it whilst watching TV, or going on a long car journey.

This charger, (above), needs to be recharged... and this is where the excess hardware sets in.
Above is the whole Kaboodle that one receives when they opt for a rechargeable battery.... In the black bag, is a cord that connects to our charger AND to a powerpoint. So you must remember to charge your charger... There are also 3 manuals to explain your every concern in various languages, using text and symbols.
And then there's the programmer, which allows one to change settings within parameters set by their doctor, as well as check on the battery level of the neurostimulator.
This device (for both battery options), lives in my handbag, to be carried at all times. It can also turn the neurostimulator off and on, so handy if mistakenly turned off by a security scanner in a shop. (This has NEVER happened to me.) Some guys in my support group like to demonstrate the effectiveness of DBS, by turning their programmer on and off at meetings. I leave mine on at all times; after all I had the operation to feel better.

Finally, I'll leave you with an image of the area where my neurostimulator is planted. It does NOT protrude, and is barely noticeable. Bio Oil has kept scarring down.

I hope that I have not confused you too much; feel free to email me with any questions.

NB Please note that all above is my personal opinion, based on experience and reading.




12 comments:

  1. Karyn...Good explanation and I think if I ha DBS I would choose the rechargeable one also.....NICE BLOG....

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  2. Since I am scheduled to have DBS later this year, if I pass all the pre-surgery tests (I'm really worried about the depression one - ha ha), I am glad you wrote this update. I was shown the 3 different devices available. A smaller, single side unit of which I would need 2, one for each side of my brain. A larger, dual side unit, which would need to be replaced in approximately 5 years, according to my Neurosurgeon's personal experience (he has done over 600 of these surgeries) or the rechargeable unit you describe, which is smaller than the dual but larger than the single. He said the life span of the rechargeable one was 9 years also. He, however, recommended the non-rechargeable one for me for this reason. He said that IF something new comes along (and he thinks research is advancing rapidly), I'd be more likely to get approved for the new "thing" sooner. He said "You don't want to get stuck waiting for your 9 year battery to run out, and they won't want to replace it until it does run out." So, I have opted for the regular one. Now all they will have to do is find somewhere to hide it, since my Doctor said "You're kind of skinny, you don't have any meat on your bones". (I guess my backside isn't a practical spot for placement, plenty of extra "meat" there) LOL

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  3. I wasn't sure if the recharging takes place by remote, or do you have to have an external plug? Sorry if I missed this.

    I had my surgery 5 weeks ago, but the rechargeable version wasn't presented to me as an option.

    I do have a single neuro-stimulator that serves for both sides of my DBS which is bilateral. Though I didn't have this option, my surgeon had other features that many don't offer including a bilateral implant done while asleep! He was very accurate in his placement as evidenced by the way it works for me and benefits my symptom improvement. Thanks for your blog!

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  4. Sorry you missed the bit about recharging.

    Looking at the 1st 2 pictures in the blog, you see the charger, and me using it.
    It is placed OVER the implanted neurostimulator.
    It is portable, but needs to be charged.
    Glad you are doing well,
    Karyn

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  5. CAN A DBS DR WHOS KNOWS ABOUT RECHAGE BATTEYS TALK TO MY MUM THERE SOME THING NOT RIGHT AND WE NEED HELP

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  6. Where did you have your battery placed?

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  7. My dad has had his battery pack replaced a couple times and it is needing again. His question is, can you feel anything as it is recharging? He's afraid of the shocking sensation he gets when the adjust the stimulator

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  8. Keeping in mind that everyone is different, I have never achieved pain with the stimulator.
    Sometimes I feel a 'buzz' when it is adjusted, but that only lasts for a second, and does not need to be done often.

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  9. Thank you so much for such an amazing and nice blog.
    Microsoft Lumia 950 battery

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