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Long-term improvement of musician's dystonia after stereotactic ventro-oral thalamotomy

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Abstract

Objective

Musician's dystonia is a task-specific movement disorder that causes twisting or repetitive abnormal finger postures and movements, which tend to occur only while playing musical instruments. Such a movement disorder will probably lead to termination of the careers of affected professional musicians. Most of the currently available treatments have yet to provide consistent and satisfactory results. We present the long-term follow-up results of ventro-oral thalamotomy for 15 patients with musician's dystonia.

Methods

Between October 2003 and September 2010, 15 patients with medically intractable task-specific focal hand dystonia that occurred only while playing musical instruments underwent ventro-oral thalamotomy. We used Tubiana's musician's dystonia scale to evaluate the patients' pre- and postoperative neurological conditions.

Results

All patients except 1 (93%) experienced dramatic improvement of dystonic symptoms immediately after ventro-oral thalamotomy. The mean follow-up period was 30.8 months (range = 4–108 months). None of the patients experienced recurrence or deterioration of symptoms during the follow-up periods.

Interpretation

Ventro-oral thalamotomy remarkably improved musician's dystonia, and the effect persisted for a long duration. Ann Neurol 2013;74:648–654

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