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The Functional Neurosurgery Team provides advanced care for patients with epilepsy that is surgically treatable, Parkinson's Disease and other movement disorders and in conjunction with the UCSD Neurosciences Department, new clinical trials for Alzheimers.

Specialist caregivers include:

Surgery for Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's Disease (PD) is a progressive neurological disorder caused by a loss of nerve cells in the substantia nigra, a small area deep within the brainstem. In most cases, the cause of PD is unknown although Parkinson's-like conditions can be seen after stroke, encephalitis, carbon monoxide or manganese poisoning and head trauma.

The onset is usually insidious and occurs in most patients in their 50's and 60's. The major manifestations of the disease consist of resting tremor, rigidity, bradykinesia [slowness of movements] and involuntary movements. Gait disturbance is also a prominent symptom of Parkinson's Disease.

Attending neurosurgeons in functional and stereotactic neurosurgery (including electrophysiologically monitored pallidotomy for Parkinson's disease and thalamotomy for disabling tremor):


Neurosurgical Treatment of Movement Disorders

Spasmodic Torticollis (ST) is a neurological disorder that affects the muscles of the neck causing the head to pull, turn or jerk toward the shoulder. It is generally a chronic condition which may last indefinitely. It can begin at any time in life, although the symptoms appear in middle age. About 3 out of every 10,000 people are affected. This means that approximately 83,000 people have ST. Although caused by a dysfunction in the brain, its symptoms are limited to sustained or intermittent involuntary contractions of the muscles around the neck which control the position of the head. This causes the head to lean or turn to one side; it may also be pulled forward or backward. Some patients also experience shaking movements of the head and arms.

Neurosurgical treatments can provide dramatic relief in selected cases of spasmodic torticollis and other focal dystonias. Neurosurgical treatment is also available for spasticity (muscle spasms, usually caused by stroke or other neurologic diseases) of the arms and legs that is refractory to medical treatments. A variety of procedures are available through the UCSD neurosurgical service.