Long-term improvement of musician's dystonia after stereotactic ventro-oral thalamotomy

Ann Neurol. 2013 Nov;74(5):648-54. doi: 10.1002/ana.23877. Epub 2013 Jun 17.


Objective: Musician's dystonia is a task-specific movement disorder that causes twisting or repetitive abnormal finger postures and movements, which tend to occur only while playing musical instruments. Such a movement disorder will probably lead to termination of the careers of affected professional musicians. Most of the currently available treatments have yet to provide consistent and satisfactory results. We present the long-term follow-up results of ventro-oral thalamotomy for 15 patients with musician's dystonia.

Methods: Between October 2003 and September 2010, 15 patients with medically intractable task-specific focal hand dystonia that occurred only while playing musical instruments underwent ventro-oral thalamotomy. We used Tubiana's musician's dystonia scale to evaluate the patients' pre- and postoperative neurological conditions.

Results: All patients except 1 (93%) experienced dramatic improvement of dystonic symptoms immediately after ventro-oral thalamotomy. The mean follow-up period was 30.8 months (range=4-108 months). None of the patients experienced recurrence or deterioration of symptoms during the follow-up periods.

Interpretation: Ventro-oral thalamotomy remarkably improved musician's dystonia, and the effect persisted for a long duration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Dystonic Disorders / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Stereotaxic Techniques
  • Thalamus / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome

Supplementary concepts

  • Dystonia, Focal, Task-Specific