Gamma knife pallidotomy in advanced Parkinson's disease

Ann Neurol. 1996 Apr;39(4):535-8. doi: 10.1002/ana.410390416.


Posteroventral pallidotomy as a treatment for Parkinson's disease (PD) has been the subject of increasing interest. We treated 4 nondemented patients with advanced PD, 2 with severe bradykinesia and a declining response to medication, and 2 with marked clinical fluctuations. All patients received 180 Gy delivered in one sitting to the right posteroventral pallidum site, used by Laitinen and colleagues, adjusted as needed, to avoid the optic tract. Only 1 patient changed significantly. Dyskinesia completely resolved on the side contralateral to the lesion in this patient. This same patient also became transiently demented and psychotic. The other 3 patients suffered no clearly identifiable beneficial or harmful effects. Follow-up magnetic resonance imaging scans of the brain at 1 year revealed lesions exactly where targeted although of unequal sizes. Our negative experience forces us to conclude that either larger volumes of tissue must be ablated, that physiologic monitoring is required for placing a lesion, that our subjects were poor candidates for the procedure, or that surgical ablation and radiation cause tissue damage of different types with different results.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brain Edema / etiology
  • Gamma Rays
  • Globus Pallidus / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / diagnosis
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology
  • Parkinson Disease / surgery*
  • Radiation Injuries
  • Radiosurgery / adverse effects
  • Radiosurgery / instrumentation*
  • Treatment Failure