Deep brain stimulation (DBS) for dystonia

HCA UK offers deep brain stimulation, which can help relieve tremors caused by dystonia in many patients

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What is deep brain stimulation?

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a treatment that can reduce the tremors caused by dystonia. It works best for genetic dystonia, or dystonia which has no identified cause (idiopathic).

DBS is an effective option when medication fails to treat symptoms of the condition. The stimulation works by changing the function of the brain, rather than destroying tissues.

Need to know

This procedure is carried out under local anaesthetic. Your neurosurgeon will first implant small electrodes in the brain. The precise position of the electrodes will vary depending on the symptoms and which areas of the brain need targeting.

You will remain awake during the surgery so that the team can monitor your brain function as they place the electrodes. The electrodes will then be connected to a tiny pulse generator, which is implanted in the chest or abdomen area. The pulse generator delivers electrical stimulation to the target area of the brain. This alters some of the neural pathways that cause tremours.

Your consultant will explain the procedure to you and answer any questions you may have. Like all procedures, there may be some risks and side effects involved. Your consultant will explain these to you.

When you have recovered from your surgery, the neurostimulator will be activated by your consultant. They will show you how to use the device and tell you when you may need to switch it off.

The effects of DBS on dystonia symptoms vary. It reduces the severity of symptoms for inherited and idiopathic dystonia by around 50%. In some people, it can be less. After you've had DBS, you may be able to reduce medication.

Many patients will need to continue with muscle-relaxant injections and other medication for dystonia. Your consultant will monitor your progress over the following months.

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) for dystonia Consultants

Mr Jonathan Hyam

Mr Jonathan Hyam

Neurosurgery

Mr Harith Akram

Mr Harith Akram

Neurosurgery

Dr Mark Kellett

Dr Mark Kellett

Neurology

Our Deep brain stimulation (DBS) for dystonia locations

The Harley Street Clinic

The Harley Street Clinic

35 Weymouth Street W1G 8BJ London
The Lister Hospital

The Lister Hospital

Chelsea Bridge Road, SW1W 8RH London
The Shard Outpatients

The Shard Outpatients

The Shard, 32 St Thomas Street SE1 9BS London
London Bridge Hospital

London Bridge Hospital

27 Tooley Street SE1 2PR London
The Wellington Hospital

The Wellington Hospital

8A Wellington Place NW8 9LE London

Patient stories

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.