Written by Lisa Buffington
In January 2021, Torrance Memorial Medical Center opened a Movement Disorders
Clinic for patients living with neurological conditions that cause abnormal,
increased body movements.
Led by Echo Tan, MD, a fellowship-trained movement disorder specialist
in the Department of Neurology at Cedars-Sinai, the clinic offers expert
consultation for a full range of movement disorders, including:
- Essential tremor
- Hemifacial spasm
- Parkinson’s disease
Dr. Tan collaborates with each patient’s referring neurologist to
develop a treatment plan that includes the latest therapies. With the
addition of the Movement Disorder Clinic, Dr. Tan and the Torrance Memorial
neurosciences team hope to help as many people as possible in the South Bay.
“The Movement Disorder Clinic is definitely meeting a need in our
community,” said Heidi Assigal, Vice President Business and Operations,
Torrance Memorial Physician Network. “For patients who are living
with a movement disorder, traveling to an academic medical center for
care may be challenging. That’s why we wanted to bring convenient,
coordinated care from academic medical center experts closer to home.”
Advanced Treatments and Clinical Trials
Torrance Memorial’s affiliation with Cedars-Sinai gives patients
access to all Cedars-Sinai treatments and clinical trials, which currently
include six clinical trials for all stages of Parkinson’s disease.
“We can recruit patients from Torrance Memorial for clinical trials
run by Cedars-Sinai, offering the latest, most-promising treatment options
to patients in the South Bay,” said Dr. Tan.
Additionally, Torrance Memorial patients can access a surgical movement
disorder treatment called deep brain stimulation (DBS) at Cedars-Sinai.
During DBS, a neurosurgeon implants electrodes into specific areas of
the brain to control abnormal brain activity. A pacemaker-like device
in the upper chest is connected to the electrodes in the brain by a wire
and can be programmed to control the amount of stimulation the brain receives.
“Patients who are candidates for DBS can have their pre-surgical
evaluation and work-up performed at Torrance Memorial, go to Cedars-Sinai
for the procedure and receive follow-up care back at Torrance Memorial,”
said Dr. Tan.
Dr. Tan said the Movement Disorder Clinic has been so well-received in
the community they are already hoping to expand the clinic’s hours.
According to Assigal, that success is an indication the clinic is achieving
its goal: Allowing patients to receive the advanced care they deserve
locally — without the stress of travel, traffic, second opinions
and multiple healthcare providers.
“When patients come to the Movement Disorders Clinic, all treatment
options are available,” said Assigal. “Our patients can feel
confident every treatment option that can be considered is being considered,
and if they need additional care, it can be coordinated.”