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ISRN Surg. 2011;2011:193718. doi: 10.5402/2011/193718. Epub 2011 Apr 13.

Dystonia and the role of deep brain stimulation.

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  • Wake Forest School of Medicine, Wake Forest University, Medical Center Boulevard, Winston Salem, NC 27157, USA.


Dystonia is a painful, disabling disease whose cause in many cases remains unknown. It has historically been treated with a variety methodologies including baclofen pumps, Botox injection, peripheral denervation, and stereotactic surgery. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is emerging as a viable treatment option for selected patients with dystonia. Results of DBS for dystonia appear to be more consistently superior in patients with primary versus secondary forms of the disorder. Patients with secondary dystonia, due to a variety of causes, may still be candidates for DBS surgery, although the results may not be as consistently good. The procedure is relatively safe with a small likelihood of morbidity and mortality. A randomized trial is needed to determine who are the best patients and when it is best to proceed with surgery.

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