A man with tardive dystonia became the first adult to undergo deep brain stimulation (DBS) at a Western Cape state hospital. His condition drastically improved following the procedure at Tygerberg.
Until now it had only been performed on a few children at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital.
The dystonia was a side effect of an anti-psychopathic medication prescribed to the patient for bipolar disorder. However, the dystonia persisted after the medication was discontinued. By the time the DBS operation was performed, the patient had already been confined to bed for six months.
The operation was performed by Dr Armin Gretschel, a neurosurgeon with Stellenbosch University’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS). The equipment was provided by Medtronic.
According to Gretschel, two very thin electrodes were implanted in the globus pallidus on both sides of the brain to block the electrical impulses causing the movement disorder. Healthy brain tissue is n