Dystonia due to cerebral palsy responds to deep brain stimulation of the globus pallidus internus


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Cerebral palsy is the most common cause of pediatric-onset dystonia. Deep brain stimulation is gaining acceptance for treating dystonias in children. There is minimal reported experience regarding the efficacy of deep brain stimulation in cerebral palsy.


Fourteen patients, including 8 younger than 16 years, received bilateral implants (13 patients) or a unilateral implant (1 patient) of the internal globus pallidus and were observed in a noncontrolled, nonblinded study for at least 6 months. Motor function was assessed using the Burke-Fahn-Marsden Dystonia Movement and Disability scales and the Barry Albright Dystonia Scale.


By 6 months, significant improvement was observed in the Burke-Fahn-Marsden Dystonia Movement scale (P = .004), the Burke-Fahn-Marsden Dystonia Disability scale (P = .027), and the Barry Albright Dystonia Scale (P = .029) for the whole cohort (n = 14) and in the patients treated before skeletal maturity (group 1; n = 8): Burke-Fahn-Marsden Dystonia Movement scale, P = .012; Burke-Fahn-Marsden Dystonia Disability scale, P = .020; and Barry Albright Dystonia Scale, P = .027.


Deep brain stimulation may offer an effective treatment option for cerebral palsy–related dystonia, especially in those treated before skeletal maturity.