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We offer neuromodulation for a wide range of movement disorders and pain conditions. Call 310-825-5111 to learn more about neuromodulation therapies.

Whether you or your child has been diagnosed with Tourette's syndrome, you understand how even subtle tics can affect social and professional interactions. The UCLA Neuromodulation for Movement Disorders and Pain Program offers deep brain stimulation for children and adults as a surgical alternative to medication and traditional therapy.

What is Tourette's syndrome?

Tourette's syndrome is a neurological disorder that causes tics: repetitive, involuntary movements and sounds.

Tourette's starts in childhood as early as age 2 and decreases in teenage years and into adulthood. It tends to run in families and so researchers believe it is genetic. While there is no known cause for Tourette's syndrome, it has been linked to problems with two neurotransmitters: dopamine and serotonin.

Tourette's syndrome symptoms

Tics vary from patient to patient. Some can control them and others cannot, but everyone reports feeling an urge to perform the tic when they suppress it. Common tics include:

  • Eye twitches
  • Facial grimaces
  • Throat clearing
  • Sniffing
  • Grunting
  • Head or shoulder jerking
  • Shoulder shrugging
  • Words or phrases

Deep brain stimulation surgery for Tourette's syndrome at UCLA

Behavioral therapy and medicines are the standard treatments for Tourette's syndrome. At UCLA, we consider a surgical option when medications and behavioral therapy fail. Our UCLA Neuromodulation for Movement Disorders and Pain Program is one of the few centers that performs deep brain stimulation to relieve tics caused by Tourette's. It is an off-label procedure for treating Tourette's syndrome. That means it is not yet FDA-approved.

Deep brain stimulation is a surgical procedure that implants electrodes, or wires, deep inside the brain to change irregular brain activity.

Find out more about deep brain stimulation.