A Life-Changing Experience
Devin K. Binder, M.D., Ph.D., performs
MR-guided Focused Ultrasound on a patient.
James Stinnett receives MR-guided Focused Ultrasound at Orange Coast Medical Center.
Eating a bowl of soup, jotting down a quick note, buttoning a coat – small rituals many do effortlessly were nearly impossible for James Stinnett. Since he was 7 years old, James had lived with essential tremor, an uncontrollable shaking of the body, most commonly in the hands. Tasks that many do with little thought were challenging with his shaking hands, and it progressed until he finally couldn’t reliably hold a cup with both hands.
After failed medication treatments resulted in severe side effects, James began researching alternative treatments. He discovered the magnetic resonance (MR)-guided Focused Ultrasound procedure, which uses focused sound waves guided by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to treat deep in the brain without incisions or permanent implants. James found that one of a few centers in the Western region that performed the procedure was Orange Coast Medical Center.
Orange Coast Medical Center is one of only two hospitals to
perform MR-guided Focused Ultrasound in Southern California.
Spanning state lines
“Although patients can reach out to us through their primary physician, a neurologist, or even directly, James, who lives in Sedona, Arizona, found us through INSIGHTEC’s TIPs program, a contracted service that screens patients for appropriateness of treatment and then connects patients with Orange Coast Medical Center,” says Theresa Stern, M.P.T., director of the MemorialCare Neuroscience Institute at Orange Coast Medical Center and James’s patient navigator – someone who would be with him every step of his journey.
James was promptly connected with Devin K. Binder, M.D., Ph.D., neurosurgeon and medical director of the Institute who has over 20 years of experience in treating patients with movement disorders, through a telemedicine consultation. In January 2021, Dr. Binder virtually performed a comprehensive evaluation by discussing James’s medical history and the proposed procedure. Dr. Binder reviewed videos of James performing simple tasks to see the extent of his tremor and found him to be an ideal candidate for the procedure.
Due to the state-of-the-art technology used at the MemorialCare Neuroscience Institute, high success rates and discourse with Dr. Binder, James was eager to make the trek from Arizona to California to meet Dr. Binder in person and complete the procedure.
A transformative treatment
During the MR-guided Focused Ultrasound treatment, ultrasound waves pass through the skull without a need for an incision. With the help of MRI, the waves target a small point in the brain – called the ventral intermediate (VIM) nucleus – which has been identified as the source for treatment of essential tremor. The temperature at the target rises high enough to create a small ablation or burn, providing a therapeutic effect.
“The MRI scanner acts as the eyes of the treatment, enabling the physician to plan, guide and target the treatment area. It also provides continuous temperature monitoring to verify that only the targeted tissue is affected,” says Dr. Binder.
During the procedure, Dr. Binder and his team use a series of tests to evaluate the patient’s progress. The patient is awake and performs tests, such as signing their name or drawing spirals. These tests continue until the tremor proves to be suppressed.
A wave of relief
After his two-hour procedure, James’s tremor in his dominant hand was immediately gone. Once home, James shared videos of himself enjoying his favorite bowl of soup, with absolutely no shaking – a steadiness he maintains nearly six months later.
“This was a life-changing experience for me,” shares James. “The collaboration and professionalism between Dr. Binder, my patient navigator and the rest of my care team at Orange Coast Medical Center is unsurpassed. I not only received exceptional medical care, but emotional support as well, ushering in a new chapter of my life.”
For more information or to find out if you’re a suitable candidate for the MR-guided Focused Ultrasound procedure,
call (800) 758-5817, email email@example.com, or visit their site by clicking here.
Spine Health Center
Orange Coast Medical Center provides comprehensive, quality treatment for back and neck pain.
When neck and back pain make everyday activities difficult to manage, it may be time to seek medical care. The Spine
Health Center at Orange Coast Medical Center provides a variety of services to evaluate, diagnose and treat pain caused
by spine issues.
The first step for new patients is a consultation with a physiatrist – a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician who specializes in treatment for the musculoskeletal system and pain-causing disorders. The physiatrist clinically assesses the patient, identifies their pain source, and creates an individualized care plan that is then coordinated through the support of a patient navigator.
50 percent of all working Americans experience back pain each year.
“The Spine Health Center is unique in that patients benefit from having a multidisciplinary team of physical therapists, pain
management specialists, acupuncturists, nurses, physicians and surgeons all within our program. We offer several different treatment options to ensure each patient receives the right treatment for them,” says Jason Koh, D.O., physiatrist at the Spine Health Center.
While the Spine Health Center provides patients with both conservative treatments, such as physical therapy and nonsurgical treatments, as well as surgical and minimally invasive procedures, a majority of patients do not undergo surgery.
“We understand many spinal disorders may be treated effectively with physical therapy, injections or medication,” says Theresa Stern, M.P.T., director of the MemorialCare Neuroscience Institute at Orange Coast Medical Center. “However, when surgery is needed, the Spine Health Center’s surgeons and nurse navigator serve as an incredible resource to our patients to ensure they achieve excellent outcomes.”
To learn more about the Spine Health Center or consult with a spine health specialist, click here or call (714) 861-4830.
1. “Back Pain Facts and Statistics.” American Chiropractic Association.
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