Long-term pallidal deep brain stimulation in patients with advanced Parkinson disease: 1-year follow-up study

Thomas J Loher, Jean-Marc Burgunder, Thomas Pohle, Sabine Weber, Regine Sommerhalder, Joachim K Krauss
Journal of Neurosurgery 2002, 96 (5): 844-53

OBJECT: The goal of this study was to investigate the efficacy of long-term deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the posteroventral lateral globus pallidus internus (GPi) accomplished using a single-contact monopolar electrode in patients with advanced Parkinson disease (PD).

METHODS: Sixteen patients suffering from severe PD and levodopa-induced side effects such as dyskinesias and on-off fluctuations were enrolled in a prospective study protocol. There were six women and 10 men and their mean age at surgery was 65 years. All patients underwent implantation of a monopolar electrode in the posteroventral lateral GPi. Initially, nine patients received unilateral stimulation. Three of these patients underwent contralateral surgery at a later time. Ten patients received bilateral stimulation (contemporaneous bilateral surgery was performed in seven patients and staged bilateral surgery in the three patients who had received unilateral stimulation initially). Formal assessments were performed during both off-medication and on-medication (levodopa) periods preoperatively, and at 3 and 12 months postoperatively. There were no serious complications related to surgery or to DBS. Two transient adverse events occurred: in one patient a small pallidal hematoma developed, resulting in a prolonged micropallidotomy effect, and in another patient a subcutaneous hemorrhage occurred at the site of the pacemaker. In patients who received unilateral DBS, the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale activities of daily living (ADL) score during the off-levodopa period decreased from 30.8 at baseline to 20.4 at 3 months (34% improvement) and 20.6 at 12 months (33% improvement) postoperatively. The motor score during the off period improved from 57.2 at baseline to 35.2 at 3 months (38% improvement) and 35.3 at 12 months (38% improvement) postoperatively. Bilateral DBS resulted in a reduction in the ADL score during the off period from 34.9 at baseline to 22.3 at 3 months (36% improvement) and 22.9 at 12 months (34% improvement). The motor score for the off period changed from 63.4 at baseline to 40.3 at 3 months (36% improvement) and 37.5 at 12 months (41% improvement). In addition, there were significant improvements in patients' symptoms during the on period and in on-off motor fluctuations.

CONCLUSIONS: Pallidal DBS accomplished using a monopolar electrode is a safe and effective procedure for treatment of advanced PD. Compared with pallidotomy, the advantages of pallidal DBS lie in its reversibility and the option to perform bilateral surgery in one session. Comparative studies in which DBS is applied to other targets are needed.

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