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Dystonia

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Doctors Who Treat Dystonia

Primary care physicians are often the first to see patients with symptoms of dystonia; however, it is important to be evaluated at an advanced brain center as soon as possible, since early and expert intervention can ensure proper diagnosis and effective treatment. Symptoms of dystonia mimic those of other conditions, and can also occur as a result of another condition, such as Parkinson’s disease.

The neurosurgery team at the Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center ─ expert neurosurgeons along with their team of physicians, nurse practitioners and physican assistants, nurses, physical therapists, and pain management specialists ─ provide comprehensive, integrated care for children and adults with dystonia and many other conditions of the brain. Patients receive a complete continuum of care, from diagnosis to treatment and recovery.

We generally begin with nonsurgical, non-invasive options to treat dystonia (see Diagnosing and Treating Dystonia). For patients who do need surgery, we offer the latest in minimally invasive as well as non-invasive surgical techniques using state-of-the-art equipment. Patients respond faster, have less pain, and get back to their normal daily activities sooner than they could with older surgical methods.

Our surgical faculty includes some of the very best world-renowned specialists:

Dr. Michael KaplittMichael Kaplitt, M.D., Ph.D. specializes in neurosurgical treatment of movement disorders, including dystonia, essential tremor and Parkinson’s disease, using various surgical approaches including deep brain stimulation. Dr. Kaplitt pioneered the use of gene therapy in the brain, and has published more than 60 papers and has edited two books on this subject. In 2007, he performed the first human gene therapy for Parkinson's disease in the world and published results of this groundbreaking trial as a cover article in the Lancet in 2007. His laboratory is actively researching mechanisms of cell death in diseases such as Parkinson's and Huntington's. Dr. Kaplitt is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Young Investigator Award from the American Society for Gene Therapy.

Jeffrey Greenfield, PhD, MDJeffrey Greenfield, M.D., Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Neurological Surgery in Pediatrics at Weill Cornell Medical College and a pediatric neurosurgeon at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Dr. Greenfield, who co-directs the pediatric NeuroMotor Disorders Program, specializes in minimally invasive (endoscopic) pediatric neurosurgery as well as in advanced procedures for movement disorders. Dr. Greenfield specializes in the latest treatments for pediatric dystonia, including intraventricular baclofen infusion. (Read more about Dr. Greenfield.)

At the Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center, patients with dystonia may also be seen by:

Kenneth Perrine, PhDKenneth Perrine, Ph.D., ABPP-CN is a board-certified clinical neuropsychologist with 30 years of experience; he sees patients for pre-surgical evaluations prior to surgery for Parkinson's disease and other disorders to determine the presence, breadth, and extent of cerebral dysfunction for treatment planning. Dr. Perrine also specializes in neuropsychological testing in professional athletes and other individuals with suspected or diagnosed traumatic brain injury. More about Dr. Perrine.

Physical therapists have expertise in a wide range of non-surgical techniques to help with movement disorders and build strength to help prevent future injuries. A physical therapist may work with a patient as an alternative to surgery, or after surgery to help rebuild strength.

Physiatrists are rehabilitation physicians who specialize in treating injuries or illnesses that affect movement.

Pain management specialists are advanced pain management techniques allow many patients to avoid surgery altogether. Our specialists work with patients to develop an individual treatment plan that can get them back to their daily lives, without pain and without surgery. The surgeons of the Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center have the state-of-the-art facilities of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, the #1 hospital in New York, available to them for their lifesaving work. The combined resources and expertise of the NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center allow us to offer the very best in patient care, with excellent outcomes.

Find out more about the Movement Disorders service and the Pediatric NeuroMotor Disorders Program at the Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center, or use our online form to request an appointment.

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