What Is DBS Therapy? Deep Brain Stimulation for Dystonia

Overview

DBS Therapy for dystonia*, which uses deep brain stimulation technology, is approved under a Humanitarian Device Exemption as an aid in the management of chronic, intractable (drug refractory) primary dystonia, including generalized and/or segmental dystonia, hemidystonia, and cervical dystonia (torticollis), for individuals who have not had success managing their symptoms with medication and are 7 years of age or above.


How DBS Works

During DBS Therapy, a small, pacemaker-like device sends electronic signals to an area in the brain that controls movement. These signals block some of the brain messages that cause frustrating and disabling motor symptoms.

The device is placed under the skin in the chest (not in the brain). Very thin wires connect the device to your brain to enable the signals to reach the source of your symptoms.


What to Expect During Therapy

Following the procedure, your doctor adjusts the settings to optimize the therapy for you. Getting the initial settings right for you may take several sessions. Over time, your settings are then adjusted as your symptoms change.

Most people don’t feel the stimulation at all as it reduces their symptoms. Some people may feel a brief tingling when the stimulation is first tuned on. A few weeks after the procedure, you can go back to your normal daily activities.

Always following your doctor’s instructions, you can gradually try activities that had become difficult for you.

Your clinician programs the system to manage your individual symptoms. In addition, your clinician may provide you with a small, handheld patient programmer. This programmer may allow you to adjust the system and turn it on and off. In most cases, the neurostimulator is always on.


*Humanitarian Device - Authorized by Federal Law as an aid in the management of chronic, intractable (drug refractory) primary dystonia, including generalized and/or segmental dystonia, hemidystonia, and cervical dystonia (torticollis), in patients seven years of age or above. The effectiveness of the devices for treating these conditions has not been demonstrated.


Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.