Background: Neurocognitive outcome research of individuals with Parkinson's disease after unilateral pallidotomy is inconsistent. Although some studies reported few cognitive changes, other investigations have more consistently shown both transient and long-term cognitive decline postoperatively.
Methods: We report the long-term motor and neurocognitive outcome 5 years post surgery for 18 patients with Parkinson's disease (12 men and 6 woman; all right-handed) who underwent right or left unilateral posteroventral pallidotomy.
Results: Pallidotomy patients revealed long-term motor benefits from the surgery in their "off" state and control of dopa-induced dyskinesias in their "on" state, which is consistent with previous research. We found mild declines in oral and visuomotor information processing speed, verbal recognition memory, and mental status 5 years after surgery, which differs from previous literature regarding the long-term neurocognitive outcome after pallidotomy. Differences between the right and left pallidotomy patients for both motor and cognitive skills were not found.
Conclusion: Although deep brain stimulation is presently the treatment of choice, pallidotomy continues to be performed around the world. Consequently, although unilateral pallidotomy should be considered a treatment option for patients with Parkinson's disease who suffer from severe unilateral disabling motor symptoms or dyskinesias, the long-term neurocognitive outcome should also be considered in treatment decisions.