A two-year-old girl has received a deep brain stimulation (DBS) device to treat her dystonia. The condition, which results in painful random muscle movements, spasms, and the like, can lead to severe limitations on a child’s development and overall quality of life.
A team at the Evelina London Children’s Hospital worked together to develop the necessary anesthesia protocols and surgical procedure.
One of the issues that the team had to consider was that DBS systems are made for much larger patients, and so the device had to be positioned and the procedure implemented accordingly. Another is that the implanted electrodes will eventually shift in relation to where they are now as the child grows, so the team planned for that by making sure they can make future corrections relatively easily.
One major hope for all of this is that manufacturers of DBS devices will realize that there’s a large enough market for pediatric patients out there. This will hopefully spur them to develop new devices that are specifically designed for use in young children.
Here’s a video report from the BBC about this latest achievement:
Images credit: Evelina London