Backgrounds: Deep brain stimulation is widely used for the treatment of movement disorders such as Parkinson's disease and dystonia. After the implantation of electrodes an immediate improvement of clinical symptoms has been described. It is unclear, whether movement kinematics are also changed by this 'microlesion effect'. Methods: To gain further insight into these mechanisms, we studied arm, hand and finger movements preoperatively and immediately after the implantation of deep brain stimulation electrodes in patients with Parkinson's disease and dystonia. Results: After implantation and without stimulation there was a clear reduction of clinical symptoms in both groups, as has been described previously. However, movement velocity was affected differently. Parkinsonian patients showed increased movement velocity postoperatively, whereas dystonic patients were significantly slower after electrode implantation. Conclusions: Lesioning and stimulation of these structures have the same beneficial clinical effects. Furthermore we suggest that globus pallidus internum lesions act by inhibiting a system which mainly acts upon muscular tone and limb posture whereas subthalamic stimulation or lesion causes a more unspecific disinhibition of movements.