How is deep brain stimulation used to treat dystonia?

Although deep brain stimulation (DBS) has proven to be a safe and effective treatment for a variety of disorders, the exact way it works is not fully understood. Dystonia symptoms result when excessive signaling from the brain causes involuntary muscle contractions and movements. The stimulation delivered to the brain by the DBS stimulator suppresses these excessive signals, thereby reducing your dystonia symptoms.
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has become an important tool in the treatment of dystonia. In the procedure, neurosurgeons permanently implant a device into the brain that acts like a pacemaker. The device reduces abnormal brain activity in dystonia, thereby minimizing dystonic spasms. DBS also enables many people to reduce their dependence on medications, which over time may cause unpleasant side effects. Continuously monitoring the electrical activity of the brain and spinal cord during surgery diminishes the risk of neurological injury.

Continue Learning about Dystonia


When your muscles contract involuntarily, the condition is called dystonia. Dystonia causes a twisting or clenching of whatever body part is affected. For example, when you have a stroke, the affected arm and hand may be clenched ...

and held in a strange position. Dystonia can be very mild or very severe. It can make your life very difficult and this can lead to frustration, depression or anxiety. See your doctor to treat your symptoms and talk over your frustrations.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.