If a loved one or someone you care for is considering deep brain stimulation

If you’re close to the person with Parkinson’s, it’s important to be involved in conversations, as any outcomes of DBS surgery may have an impact on you too. 

The decision to have surgery for Parkinson’s is often not an easy one to make, with a number of factors to consider. It’s important to remember DBS isn’t suitable for everyone.

As everyone with Parkinson’s is different, each person with the condition will react differently to surgery. 

You should talk about what might happen before, during and after the procedure with the specialist or Parkinson’s nurse, to make sure all your questions and concerns are answered. 

It can be helpful to write down your questions and take them with you to the appointment. (You can find some example questions in the section on ‘How can I find out more about DBS'?)

You might find it helpful to tell the DBS nurse what your expectations are of the surgery. There can sometimes be differences in what the person having DBS expects and what their loved ones expect. 

After DBS surgery, there will be an initial period of healing where the person with Parkinson’s may need extra care and attention. After this, there will be a visit back to the surgical centre, where the stimulator will be turned on. It will be adjusted until the best possible symptom control is achieved. This may take some time and may involve a few visits. 

Once this has happened, Parkinson’s symptoms should improve and the person with Parkinson’s should find it easier to perform some day-to-day activities. If you help someone with everyday tasks, you may find they need less help at this point. 

Many people will be able to significantly reduce the amount of medication they take. This will mean their medication routine may become less complicated. However, it’s important to remember that the condition will continue to progress. 

The results of the procedure will be monitored over time, and you can play an important part in this by keeping track of any changes in symptoms. Keeping a diary may help with this. 

You can find out more about the potential side effects of DBS in the sections on ‘Disadvantages of  DBS’ and ‘What are the side effects of programming your pulse generator?’

If you’re caring for someone with Parkinson’s, it’s important to look after yourself while they're preparing for DBS, during their stay in hospital and once they’re discharged. This will help you stay healthy and avoid stress. 

Find out more about looking after yourself when you're a carer.

Download this information

Deep brain stimulation for Parkinson's (PDF, 426KB)

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Getting to know...a DBS nurse specialist

Joseph Candelario-McKeown has been working as a DBS nurse for 15 years, while John Esperida qualified as a DBS nurse in early 2021. We find out more about their role.

Last updated

Next update due 2026

If you'd like to find out more about how we put our information together, including references and the sources of evidence we use, please contact us at [email protected]