How do I know if I'm a candidate for DBS if I have dystonia?

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is not appropriate for everyone with dystonia. And, not all patients who have the procedure will experience the same results. Based on available research, the following factors are likely (but not guaranteed) to predict the best outcomes from DBS:
  • isolated (primary) dystonia
  • younger age
  • DYT1 dystonia gene mutation
  • early DBS treatment during dystonia progression
People with severe cervical dystonia or dystonia acquired by drug exposure (tardive dystonia) may also be good candidates for DBS. Those with other forms of acquired (secondary) dystonia should be evaluated for DBS on a case-by-case basis.

DBS may also be a promising treatment for myoclonus dystonia and focal dystonias, including cranial dystonias such as blepharospasm and oromandibular dystonia.

Ultimately, you may be a candidate for DBS if medications and other treatments have failed, and if your symptoms negatively affect your quality of life to the extent that the surgical risks are justified. The first step in the evaluation process for DBS is to meet with a DBS-trained movement disorders neurologist.

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.