Peripherally induced oromandibular dystonia

Charulata Sankhla, Eugene C. Lai, Joseph Jankovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

147 Scopus citations


Objectives - Oromandibular dystonia (OMD) is a focal dystonia manifested by involuntary muscle contractions producing repetitive, patterned mouth, jaw, and tongue movements. Dystonia is usually idiopathic (primary), but in some cases it follows peripheral injury. Peripherally induced cervical and limb dystonia is well recognised, and the aim of this study was to characterise peripherally induced OMD. Methods - The following inclusion criteria were used for peripherally induced OMD: (1) the onset of the dystonia was within a few days or months (up to 1 year) after the injury; (2) the trauma was well documented by the patient's history or a review of their medical and dental records; and (3) the onset of dystonia was anatomically related to the site of injury (facial and oral). Results - Twenty seven patients were identified in the database with OMD, temporally and anatomically related to prior injury or surgery. No additional precipitant other than trauma could be detected. None of the patients had any litigation pending. The mean age at onset was 50.11 (SD 14.15) (range 23-74) years and there was a 2:1 female preponderance. Mean latency between the initial trauma and the onset of OMD was 65 days (range 1 day-1 year). Ten (37%) patients had some evidence of predisposing factors such as family history of movement disorders, prior exposure to neuroleptic drugs, and associated dystonia affecting other regions or essential tremor. When compared with 21 patients with primary OMD, there was no difference for age at onset, female preponderance, and phenomenology. The frequency of dystonic writer's cramp, spasmodic dysphonia, bruxism, essential tremor, and family history of movement disorder, however, was lower in the posttraumatic group (p < 0.05). In both groups the response to botulinum toxin treatment was superior to medical therapy (p < 0.005). Surgical intervention for temporomandibular disorders was more frequent in the post-traumatic group and was associated with worsening of dystonia. Conclusion - The study indicates that oromandibular-facial trauma, including dental procedures, may precipitate the onset of OMD, especially in predisposed people. Prompt recognition and treatment may prevent further complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)722-728
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1998


  • Botulinum toxin
  • Bruxism
  • Dental surgery
  • Oromandibular dystonia
  • Peripheral trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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