Spasmodic Dysphonia

This information is intended for the patients enrolling in our clinical trial of Deep Brain Stimulation for Spasmodic Dysphonia – DEBUSSY Trial.


Rational for Trial:

Our centre routinely treats patients who have essential tremor (ET) with deep brain stimulation (DBS). This operation is designed to reduce their tremors. We have performed over 150 of these operations. Rarely (1-2%), patients with ET also have Spasmodic Dysphonia (SD). Over the last 20 years, we have therefore operated on several patients who had both ET and SD. The tremor in these patients were improved (as expected) but the patients also reported that their voices were improved (unexpectedly).

We have therefore studied these rare patients to discover how DBS can improve the voice of patients with spasmodic dysphonia. Our preliminary results have been published in the Journal of Neurosurgery. Click here for a link to our paper.

We would now like to study if this operation (DBS) will improve the voice of patients who have pure spasmodic dysphonia.


Ethics Approval:

This study has been registered as a clinical trial ( and has received ethics approval from the University of British Columbia.


Funding for Study:

This study has been generously funded by the following peer-reviewed granting agencies:the National Spasmodic Dysphonia Society, the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, and the Rare Diseases Foundation.


*** STUDY ENTRY IS CLOSED *** (we have recruited all the necessary patients for this trial)

The preliminary results of this world’s first trial of DBS for spasmodic dysphonia should be available by the end of 2018.


This trial is partially funded by the National Spasmodic Dysphonia Association

We are grateful for their support and look forward to updating their members on our trial. Here is the recent newsletter describing our study:

NSDA grant