There is currently no cure for dystonia but there are a variety of treatments available which may provide relief to symptoms. Selection of treatment varies from patient to patient and is often dependent on the type and severity of the dystonia. The typical treatment options include drug therapy, injections of botulinum toxin, and surgery. Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) may be used to treat people with severe dystonia who fail treatment with pharmacologic agents and botulinum neurotoxin injections.
The DBS procedure includes a modest medical device which sends signals to the brain. The signals help control the motor functions that are affected by movement disorder symptoms such as tremor, slowness and rigidity.
The physician will place one or two insulated wires called leads in the brain. The leads are then connected to the stimulator (similar to a pacemaker), which is typically placed under the skin in the chest. The device produces mild electrical impulses that stimulate a specific region of the brain. This may help regulate signaling in the brain, resulting in improvement of dystonia symptoms. Although DBS is not a cure, it may help improve day-to-day experiences and quality of life.