DBS therapy for Dystonia, which uses deep brain stimulation technology, is indicated for intractable (drug refractory) primary dystonia, including generalised and/or segmental dystonia, hemidystonia, and cervical dystonia (torticollis) for individuals who have not had success managing symptoms with medication and are 7 years of age or above.

How DBS Works

During DBS Therapy, a small, pacemaker-like device sends electrical 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 the brain to enable the signals to reach the source of the symptoms.

What to Expect During Therapy

Following the procedure, a doctor adjusts the settings to optimise the therapy for the patient. Getting the initial settings right for the patient may take several sessions. Over time, the settings are then adjusted as the 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, patients can go back to their normal daily activities.

Always following the doctor’s instructions, patients can gradually try activities that had become difficult in the past.

The clinician programs the system to manage every patient's individual symptoms. In addition, the clinician may provide patients with a small, handheld patient programmer. This programmer may allow adjustment of the system and turn it on and off. In most cases, the neurostimulator is always on.