• Transcranial color-coded duplex sonography;
  • Transcranial Doppler sonography;
  • Magnetic resonance imaging;
  • Single photon emission computed tomography;
  • Dystonia;
  • Ultrasound


Various lines of evidence suggest that the basal ganglia and thalamus are involved in the pathogenesis of idiopathic dystonia, but unfortunately neuroradiological and pathological data are sparse and controversial. In this study, we have examined 10 patients with spasmodic torticollis by neuroimaging techniques, including transcranial sonography (TS; n = 10), conventional (n = 10) and diffusion-weighted (n = 5) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT; n = 10), employing [123I]iodobenzamide (IBZM) as a ligand with a high affinity to the D2 receptor. In seven patients, TS showed small hyperechogenic lesions in the medial segments of the lentiform nucleus contralateral to the side of head deviation. In accordance with the site of TS abnormalities, diffusion-weighted MRI displayed a hyperintense lesion in only one patient, while standard MRI of this area was normal in all patients. SPECT revealed a slight but statistically nonsignificant reduction of IBZM tracer uptake in an area corresponding to the dorsal portions of the striatum in 9 of the 10 patients. TS findings support the hypothesis that structural alterations of the pallidothalamic circuit contralateral to the side of head deviation are involved in the pathogenesis of idiopathic spasmodic torticollis. TS may be more sensitive in detecting basal ganglia alterations than MRI.