Issues related to deep brain stimulation for treatment-refractory Tourette's syndrome

Mauro Porta, Domenico Sevello, Marco Sassi, Arianna Brambilla, Stefano Defendi, Alberto Priori, Mary Robertson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has been used in a small number of patients with Tourette's syndrome and results on tics and comorbidities have been promising. The choice of the DBS target appears to influence the effectiveness; preliminary studies and case reports suggest that certain target areas may be more effective than others in patients with specific symptoms and comorbidities. Clinical data on the effect of DBS on tics and behavioral symptoms support its use in patients with severe, refractory Tourette's syndrome, particularly in younger adults who have a greater severity and prevalence of tics and comorbidities, and are more likely to experience social impairment. Although DBS has shown potential as an 'add-on' therapy for Tourette's syndrome patients failing to show adequate improvement with conventional conservative treatments, several issues remain to be resolved, including patient selection, choice of target, and adverse effects. Successful DBS requires an experienced multidisciplinary team for the management of these complex pre-, peri- and postoperative issues. Future studies should include establishment of consistent inclusion criteria and specific practical requirements for clinical trials, evaluation of the impact of DBS on non-tic symptoms and their influence on outcome, social impairment and quality of life, and the identification of optimum neurophysiologically based DBS targets for improved efficacy in specific patient subtypes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)264-273
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Neurology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Neuroimaging
  • Tourette's syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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