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How can I alert medical providers that I have DBS in an emergency? Can mammogram be done?

Saturday April 13, 2013

It is important that your medical provider be aware that you have DBS since there are some procedures that can not be performed if you have DBS.  Examples of procedures that are not safe to be performed with DBS are body MRI, certain types of cautery and diathermy (a form of ultrasound used in specific situations to speed tissue healing.) It is recommended that your doctor call Medtronic Inc. (current DBS manufacturer) clinician support services (800) 707-0933 before any procedure to review if there are any concerns or interactions with your device.

One way to alert clinicians that you have DBS in an emergency situation is to wear a medic alert bracelet. This bracelet can be inscribed with important information such as allergies and a statement that you have DBS.  You can include the emergency clinician support phone number and warnings such as “MRI and diathermy contraindicated.”

Mammograms are often a concern because they are done close to the battery site. Mammograms can be performed as long as the technician avoids compression of the battery which is usually located just below the clavicle in the chest. It is important not to compress the battery or extension wires. Breast MRI can not be performed. Diagnostic ultrasound of suspicious breast lesions can usually be performed if needed; but once again the ultrasound probe should not be used over or directly adjacent to the battery. Your technician should call the Medtronic customer support number listed above for more specific guidance.

Monique L. Giroux, MDMonique L. Giroux, MD
Medical Director, Northwest Parkinson's Foundation

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