The side-effects and complications of posteroventral pallidotomy

Acta Neurochir Suppl. 1997;68:42-8. doi: 10.1007/978-3-7091-6513-3_8.


The side-effects and complications of posteroventral pallidotomy are analysed in 138 consecutive patients who underwent 152 pallidotomies. Transient side-effects, lasting less than three months, appeared in 18% of the patients, that is, 16.5% of the surgical procedures. Long term complications, lasting more than 6 months, were noted in 10% of the patients, that is, 9.2% of the surgical procedures. Sixteen complications occurred alone or in various combinations in 14 patients and included fatigue and sleepiness (2), worsening of memory (4), depression (1), aphonia (1), dysarthria (3), scotoma (1), slight facial and leg paresis (2) and delayed stroke (2). Complications such as dysarthria and paresis could be attributed to MR- or CT-verified pallidal lesions lying too medially and encroaching on the internal capsule. Two of the patients with deterioration in memory had some memory impairment before surgery, and the aphonic patient had dysphonia preoperatively. The study suggests that stereotactic MRI and careful impedance monitoring and macro-stimulation of the posteroventral pallidum area should be sufficient for minimizing the risk of complications; the stereotactic lesion should be centered within the posterior ventral pallidum without involvement of internal capsule. It is concluded that pallidotomy is a safe procedure if performed on cognitively alert patients, and it seems that both the incidence and especially the severity of complications are lower for posteroventral pallidotomy than for thalamotomy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brain Mapping
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Globus Pallidus / physiopathology
  • Globus Pallidus / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology
  • Parkinson Disease / surgery*
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology*
  • Postoperative Complications / physiopathology
  • Risk Factors
  • Stereotaxic Techniques*
  • Thalamus / physiopathology
  • Thalamus / surgery
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed