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Movement Disorders Program

At MUSC Health’s Movement Disorders Program, our doctors understand the daily challenges of living with movement disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease and dystonia.

As the only comprehensive movement disorders program in South Carolina, we offer a greater number of treatment options to improve your quality of life.

Movement Disorders Program at MUSC Health: Why Choose Us?

When you come to MUSC Health for treatment of movement disorders, you benefit from:

  • Depth of experience: We have more movement disorder specialists than any other medical center in the state. Our doctors have dedicated their careers to helping those with movement disorders and will find the right treatment plan for you.
  • Innovative treatments: Our doctors were the first in South Carolina to use deep brain stimulation (DBS) to treat Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders. DBS provides symptom relief when medications are not working. We also have special expertise with the Duopa™ medication pump, a device that maximizes a medication’s effects. Learn more about treating movement disorders.
  • Advanced technology: We have sophisticated technology to aid diagnosis and treatment. We are one of a few select centers in the state with dopamine transporter imaging (DaTscan) capabilities for diagnosing Parkinson’s disease. An accurate diagnosis is crucial for getting you the treatment you need.
  • Convenience: At our monthly interdisciplinary movement disorders clinics, you can meet with up to 7 different specialists in one extended half-day visit, saving you time and travel. After our specialists meet to discuss their recommendations, you will receive a personalized, comprehensive treatment plan. In addition to our main campus in downtown Charleston, we also provide care at our Mount Pleasant clinic. See our clinic locations.
  • Customized care: Because our team has access to a broad scope of diagnostic tools and treatments, we tailor your treatment plan to your unique health needs. Our goal is to help you enjoy life to the fullest.
  • Teamwork: To help you manage the various health issues that accompany movement disorders, your team includes a range of experts with specialized training in neurological disorders. Team members include movement disorders specialists, neurosurgeons, social workers, neuropsychologists, psychiatrists, dietitians, genetic counselors, urologists and gastroenterologists. Meet our team.
  • Rehabilitation services: Speech, occupational and physical therapists in our neurological rehabilitation program customize therapy plans to help you maintain the highest level of function and independence in daily activities.

Diagnosing Movement Disorders

Specialists at MUSC Health perform advanced diagnostic tests to make a precise diagnosis and develop an appropriate treatment plan for you. Advanced diagnostic services at MUSC Health include:

  • Dopamine transporter imaging (DaTscan)
  • Positron emission tomography (PET)
  • Neuropsychological testing

Dopamine transporter imaging (DaTscan)

This scan helps your doctor rule out movement disorders similar to Parkinson’s disease, such as essential tremors. This imaging technology uses small amounts of a low-level radioactive drug, or tracer, to gauge dopamine levels in the brain. A single-photon emission computed tomography, or SPECT scanner, measures the amount and location of dopamine in your brain. Low dopamine levels may indicate Parkinson’s disease.

Positron emission tomography (PET)

PET scans aid the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and other movement disorders. This imaging test shows how your brain uses glucose, a sugar. A low-level radioactive drug, or tracer, given with the glucose reveals areas of the brain with high levels of chemical activity. Learn more about PET scans.

Neuropsychological testing

Our clinical neuropsychologists perform tests to determine how different areas and systems of your brain are functioning. Their expert assessments aid diagnosis and treatment planning. 

Movement Disorders We Treat

Our doctors diagnose and treat adults with a variety of movement disorders, including:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Atypical parkinsonism
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Essential tremor
  • Dystonia
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Ataxia
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Tardive dyskinesia
 

Treating Movement Disorders

At MUSC Health, you have access to the latest medications and treatments designed to help control symptoms and improve daily living. Treatment options at MUSC Health include:

Medication management

Low dopamine levels can lead to tremors, stiffness and loss of motor control in people with certain movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease. Medications can bolster dopamine supply and minimize symptoms. However, people in advanced stages of Parkinson’s disease often experience digestion problems, which interfere with medication absorption.

  • Duopa™: MUSC Health movement disorder specialists and gastroenterologists have extensive experience with Duopa™, a wearable pump system that delivers medicine directly to the small intestine. The continuous medication flow ensures you get the maximum benefit from the drug treatment.

Deep brain stimulation (DBS)

We were the first in the state to perform deep brain stimulation, or DBS, for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, dystonia and essential tremors. This surgical procedure uses a device similar to a pacemaker that delivers electrical signals to targeted areas of the brain. The signals interfere with brain activity and reduce symptoms. Learn more about deep brain stimulation.

Gamma knife surgery

If medications do not help and you are not a candidate for deep brain stimulation, our doctors may perform Gamma Knife™ radiosurgery. This procedure delivers precise beams of radiation (gamma rays) to lesions deep within the brain. The rays destroy cells that cause movement problems. MUSC Health is one of only 300 centers worldwide with an all-inclusive Gamma Knife Center. Learn more about our Gamma Knife Center .

Botulinum toxin injections and electromyography (EMG)

Our doctors have specialized training in using electromyography, or EMG, while injecting small doses of highly purified botulinum toxin into targeted muscles. These toxins relax muscles, reducing tremors and spasms.

An EMG detects abnormal muscle response and helps guide your doctor to the muscle sites that will benefit the most from the injections. For you, this means better results with fewer side effects.

Leaders in Movement Disorders Research

We are the only medical center in South Carolina that offers people with movement disorders the opportunity to participate in clinical trials. By enrolling in a clinical trial, you may be able to try new therapies designed to slow or stop disease progression or improve symptoms. You do not have to be a patient at MUSC Health to participate.

For clinical trials, you will work with the staff at the MUSC Murray Center for Research on Parkinson’s Disease and Related Disorders.

To learn more about our clinical trial program and see if we have a study that is right for you, call research coordinator Shonna Jenkins at 843-792-9115. You can also visit SCresearch.org for a list of currently enrolling studies.

Patient resources

To learn more about support groups and helpful state and national organizations, check out:

Give to the Movement Disorders Program

Your financial contribution enables us to provide life-changing services, including treatments and research. Make a tax-deductible donation now.

Movement Disorders Fellowship

MUSC Health offers a fellowship program for neurologists who want to advance their expertise in diagnosing and managing movement disorders. Learn more about the movement disorders fellowship.

Contact Us

To learn more about the Movement Disorders Program available at MUSC Health or to schedule an appointment, please call 843-792-3223.

Refer a Patient

Submit an online appointment referral form or call our 24-hour referring physician service, MEDULINE, at 800-922-5250.

 

Locations

The Movement Disorders Program team sees patients in both downtown Charleston and Mount Pleasant, SC.

Downtown Charleston, SC

Rutledge Tower
135 Rutledge Avenue
Charleston, SC 29425

Mount Pleasant, SC

East Cooper Medical Pavilion
1600 Midtown Avenue, 2nd floor
Mount Pleasant, SC 29464

Research Visit

Patients involved in our research studies are seen at:

Movement Disorders Research Offices
208 B Rutledge Avenue
MSC 108
Charleston, SC29425

 

Our Team

It takes a wide array of medical and surgical specialists to address the multitude of issues associated with movement disorders and the nervous system. The specialists listed below work together to create a coordinated system of care for patients while increasing knowledge about movement disorders and the nervous system through research and education.

Additional Care Team Members

Neuropsychologists:
Travis H. Turner, Ph.D. 

Research Coordinators
Shonna  L. Jenkins, MS   
Nancy Feracco, RN, CCRP

Movement Disorders Program Staff:
Tracy Millman, MSN, RN | DBS Coordinator