Under the leadership of medical director Dr. George Plotkin, PhD, MD, the ETMC Movement Disorders Center has gained a reputation for excellence. It is in the top 10 percent of the nation’s programs for deep brain stimulation surgeries (DBS) performed, and is remarkable for having four fellowship-trained neurosurgeons who do the procedure.
Patients come here from across the state and around the world seeking an accurate diagnosis, advanced treatments and individualized care. “We want to know where they come from, what their interests are and what they do,” said Dr. Plotkin. “It’s important to understand who they are as a person. After all, they’re a person first and a patient second.”
The center is comprised of highly skilled neurologists; a neuropsychologist and neurophysiologist; neurosurgeons; physical, occupational and speech therapists; internal medicine physicians; a dedicated surgical team; and a family nurse practitioner. Together they create a continuum of care that will guide patients and their families through the process of treatment and support for a range of movement disorders.
Among the conditions treated at the ETMC Movement Disorders Center are
- cerebellar ataxia
- essential tremor and familial tremor
- hemifacial spasm
- Huntington’s disease
- involuntary movement
- obsessive compulsive disorder
- Parkinson’s disease
- restless leg syndrome
- tardive dyskinesia
- Tourette’s syndrome
To read more about these disorders, please visit the ETMC Neurological Institute conditions and treatments page.
“It’s truly impressive that there is a center of this caliber in East Texas.
It’s one of the most respected in the country.”
– Allen G. Mason, Senior Therapy Representative, Deep Brain Stimulation Sales at Medtronic
You want the most advanced movement disorder treatments
Technology and training have helped the ETMC Movement Disorders Center become one of the nation’s top programs. Here more than 350 DBS procedures have been performed to successfully control symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, dystonia and other movement disorders. The procedure also is used to regulate OCD behaviors. Additional research is being conducted on its effectiveness in treating other conditions including affective disorders.
Among the top 10 percent of DBS programs in the nation
DBS involves surgically implanting electrodes in specific areas of the brain responsible for movement. These electrodes are wired to a stimulator, a pacemaker-like device that is implanted in the upper chest or abdomen. When turned on, the stimulator sends electrical pulses to block the faulty nerve signals causing tremors, rigidity and other symptoms. Stimulator settings can be adjusted in an office setting without further surgery.
For more in-depth information about DBS, please review this brochure from Medtronic, maker of the devices used in the procedure.
DBS is known to make a tremendous difference in quality of life for people with movement or affective disorders. For instance, a patient with Parkinson’s disease is likely to gain six more hours of daily functioning time and cut the number of necessary medications in half as a result of DBS. According to Dr. Plotkin, “It’s a tremendous boon for the patient. Our complication rates are extremely low, and patients universally say that if they had to option to do it again they would do it again.”
One important reason for the long-term success of the DBS program here is the team of specialists at ETMC Tyler. An unprecedented number of four stereotactic-trained neurosurgeons perform the procedure. Working closely with a neurophysiologist, neurologist and dedicated operating team, they have perfected techniques to reduce the length of DBS surgery and improved patient outcomes. Other professionals including the neurological ICU, a neuropsychologist, nurse practitioners and rehabilitation specialists combine to deliver the highest level of care available for people facing movement disorders.
ETMC offers other movement disorder treatment options
DBS is just one of many treatment options offered at the ETMC Movement Disorders Center. Patients receive careful work-ups, thorough psychological profiles, imaging studies and neurological tests. A surgical option is considered only after other methods, including proven drug therapies, have been tried.
Physical therapy is a major component of care for individuals with movement disorders. In addition to its rehabilitation center in Tyler, ETMC also offers physical therapy at other locations throughout East Texas.
You want the ETMC Movement Disorders Center in Tyler
ETMC provides a system of care for patients, caregivers and family members who deal with movement disorders. In addition to physicians and physical therapists, a patient’s team may include case managers, clergy, clinical nutritionists, clinical pharmacists and social workers. Support groups for DBS interest, epilepsy, essential tremor, LSVT BIG and LOUD, and Parkinson’s disease meet regularly at ETMC in Tyler. Click here to see schedules and class times.
For more information or for a physician referral, please call the ETMC Movement Disorders Center at 903-535-6092 or 800-728-2702.
Movement disorders signs and symptoms
The signs and symptoms of movement disorders vary and depend on the type and extent of the condition. Factors such as anxiety, fatigue, medication and stress can affect the severity of symptoms at any given time.
Some of the more common symptoms of movement disorders are
- gait changes – shifts in how a person walks that may include disrupted balance and/or fluidity.
- involuntary movements – these can be rhythmical as with essential tremor; irregular, rapid or jerky as with tics or twitches; or slowed and sustained as with Parkinson’s disease or dystonia. In most cases, involuntary movements cannot be consciously controlled or suppressed.
- involuntary sounds or grunts.
- muscle changes – this can vary from rigid and stiff to weak and slack muscle tone and may include pain, contractions and/or spasms.
To read about specific movement disorders, please visit the ETMC Neurological Institute conditions and treatments page.
Meet our award-winning movement disorders specialists
George Plotkin, PhD, MD, was a featured speaker at the IETF seminar held at ETMC in April 2015. He is renowned for his expertise in the field of movement disorders and DBS surgery.
Dr. Plotkin is board-certified in electrodiagnostic medicine. He graduated magna cum laude with a Doctor of Medicine degree from Boston University School of Medicine, holds a PhD in physiological chemistry from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and has performed fellowships in movement and neuromuscular disorders at Harvard Medical School.
A number of awards have been bestowed upon Dr. Plotkin, who is a member of the honorary society Alpha Omega Alpha. He also has held numerous appointments at Harvard, Tufts and MIT and is the medical director of the ETMC Movement Disorders Center at the ETMC Neurological Institute.
Laura Wu, MD, is a board-certified neurologist with three clinical fellowships in movement disorders and numerous honors, awards and publications in the field.
She works alongside Dr. Plotkin during DBS surgery, monitoring and measuring the patient’s brain waves to make certain the electrodes are providing optimal stimulation.
Dr. Wu also interfaces with primary care physicians and patients in a clinical environment to explain options and help determine the best treatment plan.