Neurosurgeon Dr. Douglas Taylor is now part of the team providing focused ultrasound at Regional One Health’s East Campus Imaging Center.
Focused ultrasound is for patients suffering from hand tremor due to Essential Tremor or tremor-dominant Parkinson’s disease.
The procedure involves no incision and no hospital stay, and most patients experience immediate, lasting relief from their tremor.
When Douglas Taylor, MD performs a focused ultrasound at Regional One Health, it’s more than a medical procedure – it’s an opportunity to give patients with essential tremor and tremor-dominant Parkinson’s disease a part of their life back.
“The patients we see have already tried at least two different medications that failed to treat their tremor,” Dr. Taylor said. “They’re at the point where the tremor is completely affecting their quality of life and they’re looking for a solution to give them a little piece of themselves back.”
For many people, focused ultrasound is the answer. It’s an incisionless procedure and requires no hospital stay. Most patients experience immediate, lasting relief for hand tremor.
Dr. Taylor, a neurosurgeon at West Tennessee Healthcare Neuroscience & Spine, recently joined forces with the team at Regional One Health’s East Campus Imaging Center to provide the state-of-the-art procedure. “It’s very rewarding,” he said. “It’s something we can do that directly improves patients’ quality of life.”
Dr. Taylor was born and raised in Memphis and knew from a young age he wanted a career in medicine. His mother is an internal medicine physician and his father is a dentist, and many other relatives also worked in the health care field.
“The patients we see have already tried at least two different medications that failed to treat their tremor,” Dr. Taylor said. “Focused ultrasound can directly improve their quality of life.”
“Growing up, all the people I looked up to were in medicine,” he said.
He earned a Bachelor of Science at University of Tennessee at Knoxville and attended medical school at University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis.
“I knew I wanted to be a surgeon because I enjoy the opportunity to fix problems,” he said. “After my first year of medical school, I was able to shadow a pediatric neurosurgeon, and that’s when I fell in love with neurosurgery.”
He graduated with highest honors and went on to do his neurosurgical residency at UTHSC, where he worked closely with neurosurgeon Dr. Aaron Bond, who helped start Regional One Health’s focused ultrasound program. Dr. Bond, a pioneer in focused ultrasound, served as a mentor as Dr. Taylor gained experience in the field of functional neurosurgery.
“I was able to work with Dr. Bond to perform one of the first focused ultrasound cases at Regional One Health,” Dr. Taylor said. “I learned a lot from Dr. Bond, and I discovered I really enjoy treating this patient population.”
Patients are eligible for focused ultrasound if they are age 22 or older, have a diagnosis of essential tremor or tremor-dominant Parkinson’s, and have tried at least 2 medications without relief. They must undergo a CT scan to make sure their skull density is compatible with treatment.
Focused ultrasound works by using MRI technology to guide ultrasound energy to treat the spot in the brain responsible for tremor. Doctors create a small lesion that has a therapeutic effect.
Focused ultrasound is an outpatient procedure at the East Campus Imaging Center. It usually takes just a few hours, and patients are able to resume normal activities within days.
During the procedure, patients are moved in and out of an MRI machine for several hours as Dr. Taylor identifies the exact spot in their brain to treat and then applies the ultrasound energy. Patients are conscious during the procedure because and are asked to perform tasks, like drawing a spiral, that confirm the treatment is working.
Most patients experience improvement while they are still in the treatment bed and significant relief when the procedure is finished. There are few side effects, and most people can resume normal activities – including activities their tremor previously prevented – within days.
Dr. Taylor is grateful to be able to provide a procedure with such a direct impact on quality of life.
He noted focused ultrasound fits well with his practice philosophy, which is to offer the latest techniques in diagnosis and treatment for a full range of brain and spine disorders. In addition to tremor, Dr. Taylor also sees patients for spine issues, degenerative disease, brain tumors, trauma, and more at West Tennessee Healthcare, and he focuses on minimally invasive procedures that have major rewards for patients with less risk and recovery.
To find out if you are a good candidate for focused ultrasound, visit regionalonehealth.org/fus