Department of Neurosurgery, Sophiahemmet Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.
Between 1985 and 1990, the authors performed stereotactic posteroventral pallidotomies on 38 patients with Parkinson's disease whose main complaint was hypokinesia. Upon re-examination 2 to 71 months after surgery (mean 28 months), complete or almost complete relief of rigidity and hypokinesia was observed in 92% of the patients. Of the 32 patients who before surgery also suffered from tremor, 26 (81%) had complete or almost complete relief of tremor. The L-dopa-induced dyskinesias and muscle pain had greatly improved or disappeared in most patients, and gait and speech volume also showed remarkable improvement. Complications were observed in seven patients: six had a permanent partial homonymous hemianopsia (one also had transient dysphasia and facial weakness) and one developed transitory hemiparesis 1 week after pallidotomy. The results presented here confirm the 1960 findings of Svennilson, et al., that parkinsonian tremor, rigidity, and hypokinesia can be effectively abolished by posteroventral pallidotomy, an approach developed in 1956 and 1957 by Lars Leksell. The positive effect of posteroventral pallidotomy is believed to be based on the interruption of some striopallidal or subthalamopallidal pathways, which results in disinhibition of medial pallidal activity necessary for movement control.