Deep brain stimulation in 18 patients with severe Gilles de la Tourette syndrome refractory to treatment: the surgery and stimulation

D Servello, M Porta, M Sassi, A Brambilla, M M Robertson
Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry 2008, 79 (2): 136-42

BACKGROUND: There have been several reports of successful deep brain stimulation (DBS) for the treatment of severe Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (GTS).

METHOD: 18 cases of GTS who were resistant to at least 6 months of standard and innovative treatments, as well as to psychobehavioural techniques, underwent DBS. DBS was placed bilaterally in the centromedian-parafascicular (CM-Pfc) and ventralis oralis complex of the thalamus. Patients were evaluated after surgery, with immediate and formal assessments at least every 3 months, including "on-off" and "sham off" in the first nine patients.

RESULTS: All patients responded well to DBS, although to differing degrees. The duration of follow-up assessments ranged from 3 to 18 months. The comorbid symptoms of obsessive-compulsive behaviour, obsessive-compulsive disorder, self-injurious behaviours, anxiety and premonitory sensations decreased after treatment with DBS. There were no serious permanent adverse effects.

CONCLUSIONS: DBS is a useful and safe treatment for severe GTS. The results of ours and previous DBS reports suggest that the CM-Pfc and ventralis oralis complex of the thalamus may be a good DBS target for GTS.

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