Deep Brain Stimulation for Tourette-Syndrome: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Brain Stimul. 2016 Mar-Apr;9(2):296-304. doi: 10.1016/j.brs.2015.11.005. Epub 2015 Dec 29.


Background: A significant proportion of patients with Tourette syndrome (TS) continue to experience symptoms across adulthood that in severe cases fail to respond to standard therapies. For these cases, deep brain stimulation (DBS) is emerging as a promising treatment option.

Objective: We conducted a systematic literature review to evaluate the efficacy of DBS for GTS.

Methods: Individual data of case reports and series were pooled; the Yale Global Tic Severity Scale (YGTSS) was chosen as primary outcome parameter.

Results: In total, 57 studies were eligible, including 156 cases. Overall, DBS resulted in a significant improvement of 52.68% (IQR = 40.74, p < 0.001) in the YGTSS. Analysis of controlled studies significantly favored stimulation versus off stimulation with a standardized mean difference of 0.96 (95% CI: 0.36-1.56). Disentangling different target points revealed significant YGTSS reductions after stimulation of the thalamus, the posteroventrolateral part and the anteromedial part of the globus pallidus internus, the anterior limb of the internal capsule and nucleus accumbens with no significant difference between these targets. A significant negative correlation of preoperative tic scores with the outcome of thalamic stimulation was found.

Conclusions: Despite small patient numbers, we conclude that DBS for GTS is a valid option for medically intractable patients. Different brain targets resulted in comparable improvement rates, indicating a modulation of a common network. Future studies might focus on a better characterization of the clinical effects of distinct regions, rather than searching for a unique target.

Trial registration: NCT01094145 NCT01245075.

Keywords: DBS; Deep brain stimulation; Meta-analysis; Review; Tourette; Tourette syndrome.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Brain / physiology
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Deep Brain Stimulation / methods*
  • Depression / therapy
  • Humans
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / therapy
  • Tourette Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Tourette Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Tourette Syndrome / psychology
  • Tourette Syndrome / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome

Associated data