Continuing Medical Education

Surgical management of movement disorders

J M Nico Enslin


Movement disorders are usually treated by neurologists, and appropriately so. The first-line management of all conditions that are grouped
together as movement disorders (e.g. Parkinson’s disease, dystonia, essential tremor) is with medication and, in some, with rehabilitative
strategies, such as occupational therapy, physiotherapy and even psychotherapy. In general, if these strategies fail or have undesirable
consequences, surgery would become an option. Intramuscular injection of botulinum toxin is also very useful in the focal dystonias, such as
writer’s cramp, and in the occupation-specific dystonias, such as musician’s dystonia or hairdresser’s dystonia. The limiting factor is the total
safe dosage allowed. One cannot inject every muscle involved in all four limbs in a patient with generalised dystonia. This has led to surgery
being offered as therapy in certain cases where there have previously not been any alternatives. Surgery does not offer curative procedures for
movement disorders, but long-term control with medication is possible, often with significant reduction or complete cessation of symptoms.

Author's affiliations

J M Nico Enslin, Division of Neurosurgery, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, and Constantiaberg Mediclinic, Cape Town

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Movement disorders

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2016;106(9):854-857. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2016.v106i9.11355

Article History

Date submitted: 2016-08-02
Date published: 2016-08-11

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