Pallidal deep brain stimulation in patients with cervical dystonia and severe cervical dyskinesias with cervical myelopathy

J K Krauss, T J Loher, T Pohle, S Weber, E Taub, C B Bärlocher, J-M Burgunder
Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry 2002, 72 (2): 249-56

OBJECTIVES: Surgical treatment of complex cervical dystonia and of cervical dyskinesias associated with cervical myelopathy is challenging. In this prospective study, the long term effect of chronic pallidal stimulation in cervical dystonia and on combining the technique with spinal surgery in patients with severe cervical dyskinesias and secondary cervical myelopathy is described.

METHODS: Eight patients with a history of chronic dystonia who did not achieve adequate benefit from medical treatment or botulinum toxin injection participated in the study. Five patients had complex cervical dystonia with tonic postures and phasic movements. Three patients had rapidly progressive cervical myelopathy secondary to severe cervical dyskinesias and dystonia in the context of a generalised movement disorder. Quadripolar electrodes were implanted in the posteroventral lateral globus pallidus internus with stereotactic CT and microelectrode guidance. In the three patients with secondary cervical myelopathy, spinal surgery was performed within a few weeks and included multilevel laminectomies and a four level cervical corporectomy with spinal stabilisation.

RESULTS: Improvement of the movement disorder was noted early after pallidal surgery, but the full benefit could be appreciated only with a delay of several months during chronic stimulation. Three months after surgery, patients with cervical dystonia had improved by 38% in the severity score, by 54% in the disability score, and by 38% in the pain score of a modified version of the Toronto western spasmodic torticollis rating scale. At a mean follow up of 20 months, the severity score had improved by 63%, the disability score by 69%, and the pain score by 50% compared with preoperatively. There was also sustained amelioration of cervical dyskinesias in the three patients who underwent spinal surgery. Lead fractures occurred in two patients. The mean amplitude needed for chronic deep brain stimulation was 3.8 V at a mean pulse width of 210 micros, which is higher than that used for pallidal stimulation in Parkinson's disease.

CONCLUSIONS: Chronic pallidal stimulation is effective for complex cervical dystonia and it is a useful adjunct in patients with cervical dyskinesias and secondary cervical myelopathy who undergo spinal surgery.

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