Surgery cannot cure Parkinson disease. It may be done to ease symptoms in people who are not helped by other treatments.

Thalamotomy

Thalamotomy is surgery to destroy part of the thalamus. This is the part of the brain that helps with movement. This may ease tremors. Surgery is done using heat or highly focused beams of radiation.

Pallidotomy

Pallidotomy is surgery to destroy the globus pallidus. This is another part of the brain that helps with movement. This may ease tremors and stiffness. It may also improve movement. Surgery is done using heat or highly focused beams of radiation.

Deep Brain Stimulation

Thalamotomy and pallidotomy are not as common due to the risk of side effects. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is more common.

DBS surgery places electrodes in parts of the brain. They are connected to a device that is attached to the chest. A small, handheld magnet can be passed over it to turn it on and off. When the device is activated, it sends electrical signals to block the signals that trigger symptoms.

REFERENCES:

Homayoun H. Parkinson Disease. Ann Intern Med. 2018 Sep 4;169(5):ITC33-ITC48.

Parkinson disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/condition/parkinson-disease. Updated October 4, 2019. Accessed February 24, 2020.

Parkinson disease. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/neurologic-disorders/movement-and-cerebellar-disorders/parkinson-disease. Updated December 2018. Accessed February 24, 2020.

Parkinson's disease. American Association of Neurological Surgeons website. Available at: http://www.aans.org/en/Patient%20Information/Conditions%20and%20Treatments/Parkinsons%20Disease.aspx. Accessed February 24, 2020.

Parkinson's disease information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Parkinsons-Disease-Information-Page. Updated August 28, 2019. Accessed February 24, 2020.

Last reviewed November 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Rimas Lukas, MD  Last Updated: 1/27/2021