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A 16-year-old Alexandra Headland girl with the inherited disorder Tourette syndrome may soon be allowed to leave a psychiatric institution and go home, thanks to an Australian first operation. Bianca Saez, who featured in a story last night on Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes, has spent the last two years in a Brisbane institution because her family had been unable to cope with the symptoms of her condition. These included aggressively hitting her mother, punching holes in walls, uncontrolled vocal outbursts, tearing her clothes and banging her head against a table. Dr Peter Silburn, a neurologist at Brisbane’s St Andrews War Memorial Hospital, today told AAP Bianca actually wore the hair off the front of her head. “Bianca had no control over her tics and was immediately remorseful over what she couldn’t control, and for a young woman, that would be just terrible,” Dr Silburn said. He said Bianca’s condition was not responding to drugs, and doctors feared she was at risk of seriously harming herself. But that was until an operation performed at St Andrew’s a week ago turned her life around. The Deep Brain Stimulation surgery involved placing a one centimetre-long cylindrical electrode deep into Bianca’s brain to block the impulses which caused her tics, in an Australian first for the treatment of Tourette syndrome, Dr Silburn said. “Deep brain stimulation is considered when medication is not maintaining quality of life - either socially or functionally,” he said. “The stimulation surgery has been performed experimentally for some nine years overseas, and people started getting good results in terms of reducing the motor tics.” He said Australian doctors had previously used the procedure for Parkinson’s disease but never for Tourette syndrome. The results had amazed the medical fraternity and Bianca’s family. “She is no longer tearing at her clothes or ripping up paper uncontrollably and the tics are quite minor, compared with what they were,” Dr Silburn said. “She’s been in an institution for two years but one week after surgery, she has spent the weekend with her family. ”That’s what we are aiming for and hopefully she will continue to get better over the next four to six weeks. “I think it’s now looking very good for her to go home and to return to school – if that’s what she wants to do.”