Neuromodulation FAQs


This article answers the most frequently asked questions surrounding modulation including topics such as "Does the battery run out?" and "Is surgery required?". We believe this article will be of great help for anyone who has recently received, or will possibly be receiving neuromodulation treatment.


What is neuromodulation?

Neuromodulation essentially involves the use of electricity, delivered into specific parts of the brain, spine or the nerves to change their function. Through using electricity to change the functions of the body neuromodulation can be used to treat a whole spectrum of medical conditions.

Is neuromodulation new?

Electricity has been used to treat the disorders of the brain for centuries. Modern neuromodulation began with the manufacture of miniaturised electrodes and battery pacemakers in the late 20th century. The systems available nowadays are fully implantable, which means that the system can be fully internalised under the skin of the body.

How is the electricity delivered?

Electricity is delivered to the target tissue by means of small electrodes placed into or on top of the target. The electrode is then connected to a battery pacemaker, which allows delivery of the electricity to the target tissue via the electrode. In many patients the system is permanently on and therefore able to deliver the treatment constantly.

Is surgery required?

Yes, surgery is required to expose the target tissue so that the electrodes can be placed and also to make a small pocket below the collarbone or in the abdomen for the battery.

Does the battery run out?

  • A fixed life battery does not require any intervention from the side of the patient and may last up to five years in most patients.
  • The rechargeable batteries last much longer and in some cases several decades.

How are the batteries recharged?

Almost all systems now incorporate a patient controller which allows patients to check the battery life. Once near depletion, patients with a fixed life battery will need to undergo a relatively simple operation to replace the battery. Those patients with a rechargeable battery will require the patient to recharge the battery using a recharger on a daily or weekly basis depending on the use and battery type.

Is the system adjustable?

Yes! One of the main advantages of neuromodulation is that the amount of electricity and its pattern of delivery can be easily adjusted by the use of an external programmer.

What are the main types of neuromodulation therapy?

There are now many different types of neuromodulation therapy. For a comprehensive guide to the most common types please click on the links below:

The part of the body that contains the stomach, intestines, liver, gallbladder and other organs. Full medical glossary
A large abdominal organ that has many important roles including the production of bile and clotting factors, detoxification, and the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Full medical glossary
Bundle of fibres that carries information in the form of electrical impulses. Full medical glossary
Bundles of fibres that carry information in the form of electrical impulses. Full medical glossary
A small electrical device that functions to maintain a normal heart rate. Full medical glossary
A group of cells with a similar structure and a specialised function. Full medical glossary