The DBS system is surgically placed and then must be programmed based on every patient’s unique symptoms. Traditionally, this programming was conducted in your neurologist’s office. But now, the Denver neurosurgeons at the Denver DBS Center have become some of the first in the country to offer a new Abbott remote programming system. This system allows your neurologist to program and adjust your DBS system virtually while you are at home.
During remote DBS programming, you’ll meet with your neurologist via telehealth video on a smartphone or tablet. Your physician will ask you about your symptoms and ask you to perform simple tasks to assess your functionality. Your responses will help your neurologist then adjust your DBS settings remotely. You also may have an adjustment in your medication made at that time.
News stations across Colorado and the region are reporting on how this new technology is benefiting patients in their areas:
FAQs About DBS Remote Programming
Continue reading below to learn more about deep brain stimulation (DBS) remote programming, also referred to as frequency programming, or click to go directly to these subjects:
Conditions Treated with DBS
Who is a good candidate for DBS remote programming?
Good candidates for remote DBS programming include patients who are unable to travel to their neurologist’s office for follow-up visits due to distance, mobility issues, or hardship. Patients who have compromised immune systems and those who would prefer to receive programming from home to reduce their exposure to COVID-19 also are good candidates.
DBS patients who live in rural areas and want to go to the best hospital for DBS surgery, which may be far from home, would also be great candidates for remote DBS programming. This allows them to travel to the Denver DBS Center for surgery and then receive programming at home, eliminating additional travel.
DBS remote programming, performed through telemedicine appointments, also means that patients from throughout the United States and across the globe can travel to the Denver DBS Center for surgery with Dr. David VanSickle and then return home for programming and any future adjustments.
Can I adjust my DBS settings?
Patients have the ability to make slight adjustments to their DBS system within the parameters of what the neurologist sets. The newest Abbott technology allows patients to control their DBS system using a wireless iOS platform.
How does remote DBS programming make deep brain stimulation more accessible?
Until 2021, patients had to physically go into a doctor’s office to get their DBS system programmed.
Traditionally, many patients traveled to the best hospital for DBS surgery and got ongoing care from affiliated neurologists there. That meant returning to that city to have the DBS system programmed and reprogrammed. Thanks to advancements in technology and telehealth, this is no longer the case. Using remote DBS programming, patients can have their initial programming and subsequent adjustments done from the comfort of their own home. This advancement offers convenience, especially for patients outside the Denver area or with mobility issues.
How often will I need my DBS system programmed?
During the first six months after surgery, patients typically need their DBS device programmed every month. Once the ideal settings are determined, patients continue to see their neurologist regularly for re-programming, which can be as often as every three months. With remote DBS programming, adjustments to the DBS system can be made remotely. As symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, epilepsy, and dystonia progress, patients can more conveniently get their DBS system programmed from anywhere they can access Wi-Fi.
How effective is remote DBS programming?
Remote DBS programming is innovative and FDA-approved. The technology allows patients from around the world to benefit from the experience and expertise of the Denver neurosurgeons and neurologists at Denver DBS Center. Remote DBS frequency programming offers the same benefits as in-person DBS programming without the hassle of patients needing to travel into their doctors’ offices. The advanced, secure technology enables Denver neurosurgeons from the best hospital for DBS surgery to assess and adjust patients’ DBS settings in real time from anywhere there is a Wi-Fi connection.