How is deep brain stimulation (DBS) used to treat dystonia?

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is used to help treat dystonia by sending electrical signals up small wires to the part of the brain that sorts out messages that control muscles. This can stop the muscles from tightening when they shouldn’t.

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.

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.

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