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What is deep brain stimulation?

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has been performed safely and effectively in more than 100,000 adult patients in the United States for the treatment of dystonia, Parkinson’s disease, and tremor. It works by altering abnormal signals in the brain that interfere with meaningful movement and can potentially offer life-altering therapy to children with movement disorders.

It is offered to children through the FDA as a human device exemption and can be an effective treatment for children with dystonia and other movement disorders. Children potentially have the most to gain from surgery as it can offer significant improvement in their symptoms before other complications of movement disorders manifest during a child's development.

Is my child a candidate?

Movement disorders in children are extremely complex. Children’s Mercy Kansas City has a specialized multidisciplinary team that sees complex movement disorder patients. This team consists of movement disorder neurologists, rehabilitation physicians, a neurosurgeon, and an orthopedic surgeon. We are dedicated to offering the most comprehensive evaluation possible in order to provide options for treatment, including deep brain stimulation. Our mission is to safely and responsibly offer this technology to appropriate children when traditional therapies have been insufficient or unhelpful.

How is deep brain stimulation performed?

In our dedicated pediatric center, we can offer deep brain stimulation to children in a supportive pediatric environment. We have the technology that allows us to acquire real-time high-resolution imaging of the brain during the procedure while the child is asleep. This environment allows us to safely and precisely target the desired key regions of the brain in the operating room. We have performed this surgery successfully in children as young as seven years old.