Neurosurgical management of non-spastic movement disorders

Sean D. McEvoy, David D. Limbrick, Jeffrey Steven Raskin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Non-spastic movement disorders in children are common, although true epidemiologic data is difficult to ascertain. Children are more likely than adults to have hyperkinetic movement disorders defined as tics, dystonia, chorea/athetosis, or tremor. These conditions manifest from acquired or heredodegenerative etiologies and often severely limit function despite medical and surgical management paradigms. Neurosurgical management for these conditions is highlighted. Methods: We performed a focused review of the literature by searching PubMed on 16 May 2023 using key terms related to our review. No temporal filter was applied, but only English articles were considered. We searched for the terms ((“Pallidotomy”[Mesh]) OR “Rhizotomy”[Mesh]) OR “Deep Brain Stimulation”[Mesh], dystonia, children, adolescent, pediatric, globus pallidus, in combination. All articles were reviewed for inclusion in the final reference list. Results: Our search terms returned 37 articles from 2004 to 2023. Articles covering deep brain stimulation were the most common (n = 34) followed by pallidotomy (n = 3); there were no articles on rhizotomy. Discussion: Non-spastic movement disorders are common in children and difficult to treat. Most of these patients are referred to neurosurgery for the management of dystonia, with modern neurosurgical management including pallidotomy, rhizotomy, and deep brain stimulation. Historically, pallidotomy has been effective and may still be preferred in subpopulations presenting either in status dystonicus or with high risk for hardware complications. Superiority of DBS over pallidotomy for secondary dystonia has not been determined. Rhizotomy is an underutilized surgical tool and more study characterizing efficacy and risk profile is indicated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2887-2898
Number of pages12
JournalChild's Nervous System
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2023


  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Movement disorders
  • Pallidotomy
  • Rhizotomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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