Other surgical treatments

Although the main surgery for Parkinson's is deep brain stimulation, lesioning is another type of surgery available. However, this is now rarely used.

What is lesioning?

Lesioning involves making selective damage (a lesion) to 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.

The current is used to target some of the cells that control movement. Lesioning may reduce movement symptoms, such as tremor and involuntary movements (dyskinesia).

The lesion made is permanent and cannot be reversed.

Main types of lesioning surgery


This involves making a lesion in a part of the brain called the thalamus. This technique is now only used in rare cases.

The procedure is usually done on one side only, because bilateral thalamotomy (on both sides) is thought to be much more risky.


This involves making a lesion in a 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 a side effect of Parkinson's medication.


This involves making a lesion in a part of the brain called the subthalamic nucleus.

This technique has been performed by some neurosurgeons, mostly in countries where deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery is not available.

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Surgery for Parkinson's (PDF, 576KB)

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Last updated July 2015. We review all our information within 3 years. If you'd like to find out more about how we put our information together, including references and the sources of evidence we use, please contact us at [email protected].