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What Is Dystonia?

Dystonia is a complex neurological disorder. It occurs as a result of disrupted communication in the nervous system between the brain and muscles resulting in abnormal muscle activity. This results in repetitive twisting or posturing that can affect almost any part of the body including the limbs, trunk, neck, face or vocal cords.

People can be affected at any age, and symptoms vary greatly based on severity of the disease. Primary dystonia refers to when the disease is not caused by other secondary diseases, injuries, medications or environmental factors. People with dystonia may have symptoms in one single body area, and more rarely in multiple areas of the body.

Treatment for Dystonia

The Ohio State University Medical Center is a leading center for performing deep brain stimulation (DBS) for treatment of dystonia and other neurological conditions. DBS is considered a treatment when dystonia patients with persistent and severe abnormal movement are not receiving significant benefit from medications and/or are experiencing side effects from medications. DBS is also known as a brain pacemaker. The implanted device delivers tiny electrical signals that calm abnormal brain signals to alleviate the symptoms of dystonia and improve quality of life.

Why Choose the Center for Neuromodulation at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center?

  • Ohio State provides a leading-edge surgical procedure for patients with dystonia. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is an implanted device that helps to alleviate symptoms and restore function to patients with dystonia.
  • Our DBS team includes physicians from our nationally ranked Neurology and Neurosurgery programs. U.S.News & World Report ranks these programs among the best in the nation. Our team of specialists including neurosurgeons, psychiatrists and psychologists, physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists, as well as our nurses, physician assistants and patient coordinators, work together to ensure best possible patient outcomes.
  • Ohio State is conducting advanced research that will further improve treatment of movement disorders such as dystonia.
  • Our successful DBS program is due, in part, to the strong multidisciplinary teamwork and collaboration among our neurosurgeons, movement disorder neurologists, psychiatrists and psychologists, physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists, as well as our nurses, physician assistants and patient coordinators. This teamwork and ourcomprehensive evaluations ensure optimal selection of surgical candidates and enable us to make the best choices for patient outcomes.
  • Ali Rezai, MD, a world-renowned neurosurgeon and neuromodulation specialist, is the director of the Center for Neuromodulation. Dr. Rezai is an internationally recognized DBS surgeon who has performed more than 1,600 DBS surgeries and thousands more neuromodulation procedures. Dr. Rezai and his work have been highlighted on the popular CBS news program "60 Minutes" and the PBS series "Wired Science."

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