Stereotactic pallidotomy for the treatment of Parkinson's disease. Efficacy and adverse effects at 6 months in 26 patients

Neurology. 1998 Feb;50(2):434-8. doi: 10.1212/wnl.50.2.434.


We evaluated the safety and efficacy of microelectrode-guided stereotactic pallidotomy in patients with advanced Parkinson's disease (PD). Using diagnostic criteria and evaluations outlined in the Core Assessment Programme in Transplantation (CAPIT) protocol, we studied unilateral pallidotomy in 26 patients with advanced idiophatic PD, motor fluctuations, and peak dose dyskinesias. All underwent unilateral stereotactic pallidotomy. Assessments conducted in the "practically defined off" and "best on" states at baseline and at 1 and 6 months postoperatively included Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) parts II, III, and IV and timed motor testing as outlined in CAPIT. Motor UPDRS in the "off" state improved at 1 and 6 months after surgery (p = 0.002, p = 0.008) Likewise, the sum of individual "off" contralateral motor UPDRS items improved (p = 0.0002, p = 0.0005). The duration (p = 0.0001 at 1 and p = 0.001 at 6 months) and severity (p = 0.003 at 1 and p = 0.0005 at 6 months) of dyskinesia improved, but other aspects of the "on" function were unchanged. Serious adverse effects occurred in eight patients and included one fatal deep and three nonfatal frontal lobe hemorrhages with resultant language or behavioral deficits. Nonhemorrhagic complications included one hemiparesis and three frontal lobe syndromes. Pallidotomy improves PD motor disability in the "off" state. Peak dose dyskinesias are reduced, although other aspects of "on" motor function are unchanged. Although morbidity may limit its use, pallidotomy is effective in targeting particular symptoms such as unremitting dyskinesia and severe "off" motor disability in advanced PD.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Functional Laterality
  • Globus Pallidus / surgery*
  • Hemiplegia / etiology
  • Humans
  • Language Disorders / etiology
  • Microelectrodes
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity*
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology
  • Parkinson Disease / surgery*
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Stereotaxic Techniques* / adverse effects
  • Time Factors