Lesioning surgery for Parkinson's
Although the main treatment for Parkinson's is medication, lesioning is one of the types
of surgery available to treat the symptoms of the condition.
Lesioning involves making selective damage (a lesion)
to some of the cells in a target area of the brain.
The target site is found using a brain scan. An electrode is
then inserted into the site and an electric current is passed
through the tip. This causes damage to some of the cells that
This may reduce movement symptoms, such as tremor or involuntary
Lesioning surgery can be an effective treatment for Parkinson's, but it isn't a recommended choice
for most people, because lesioning may cause irreversible side
Pallidotomy involves making a destructive lesion in part of the
brain called the globus pallidus.
The main benefit of this type of surgery is that it may reduce
involuntary movements (dyskinesia), which can be one of
the side effects of Parkinson's
medication. But it can also help with rigidity and slowness of
Thalamotomy involves making a destructive lesion in part of the
brain called the thalamus. The technique is now only used in rare
cases, mainly to treat tremor.
The procedure is usually done on one side only, because
bilateral (both sides) thalamotomy is thought to be much more
Read about a
person's experience of thalamotomy
This involves making a destructive lesion in part of the brain
called the subthalamic nucleus. This technique has been performed
by some neurosurgeons, mostly in countries where deep brain stimulation surgery is not
It is not certain what the long-term effects of
More forms of surgery for Parkinson's
You can read more on lesioning techniques and other forms of
surgery for Parkinson's in our Surgery for Parkinson's booklet.
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