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The Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) Surgery Clinic is held within the Neuroscience Institute at Children’s Colorado. The clinic, part of the Pediatric Movement Disorders Clinic, evaluates children diagnosed with dystonia (a movement disorder that leads to muscle spasms and abnormal postures) to determine if DBS treatment is right for them.
Team members in the clinic educate families about DBS and discuss treatment outcomes and expectations. Children who have had DBS continue to visit the clinic for device programming of the DBS pulse generator and ongoing treatment management.
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a surgical procedure involving the placement of tiny wires into the movement center of the brain. The wires are connected to a pulse generator, most often implanted in the chest, which sends out a steady current to help interrupt the brain activity that is causing abnormal movement. The stimulation allows the brain to better control movement. Learn what to expect by reading Djimon's story which is also a featured article in the Denver Post.
DBS treatment helps manage symptoms of dystonia and can improve a child’s quality of life. The stimulation from the DBS pulse generator is adjustable and can be turned off at any time. The stimulation is customized during clinic visits to achieve the maximum benefit from the stimulation. Children's Colorado has done extensive deep brain stimulation research, which can help you to understand more about how deep brain stimulation can help your child's muscle control issues.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Medtronic DBS Therapy in 2003 as a Humanitarian Use Device. The FDA reviewed the safety of Medtronic DBS Therapy for dystonia patients, including pediatric patients as young as 7 years old.
During the initial visit, you and your child will participate in questionnaires, complete quality of life and pain scales, and discuss DBS therapy. In addition, your child will be videotaped during a neurological exam to help collect baseline information on the areas of abnormal movement and tone.
During DBS follow-up visits, the DBS pulse generator will be programmed and medications will be adjusted as needed to address ongoing changes in tone. Learn more about what to expect by reading Djimon's patient journey through a Deep Brain Stimulation surgery.
Currently, there are only a handful of pediatric programs in the United States offering DBS surgery and management. Children’s Colorado, in partnership with University of Colorado Hospital, is the only pediatric-specific DBS program in the Rocky Mountain region.
Research shows that families who choose a pediatric surgical program (compared to an adult program) have a better experience. Children's Colorado’s DBS Clinic only treats children ages 9 to 18, making us experts when it comes to caring for your child.
The DBS Clinic at Children’s Colorado is made up of a team of specialists from many departments all in one place. We work together to care for your child and include you in decision making. The pediatric care team includes:
Before surgery, surgeons in the DBS Clinic use images from a 3T MRI. A 3T MRI has a higher resolution that a normal MRI, which provides better DBS target imaging.
During surgery, our neurosurgeon and neurologist use Brainlab, a minimally-invasive 3D imaging software that allows the surgery team to find the best position for the DBS leads inside the brain. We even helped develop the equipment for DBS surgery for the safest and most effective DBS placement possible.
The DBS Surgery Clinic is involved in research about how DBS works in kids with dystonia. Our patients have the opportunity to be involved in advanced treatment and to participate in exciting clinical trials.
We are currently accepting referrals for new patients diagnosed with dystonia to discuss deep brain stimulation as a potential treatment option. Contact the DBS care team in the Neuroscience Institute at Children’s Colorado by: