Research Insights

Surgical treatment of Parkinson’s disease

Obeso J.A., Rodriguez M.C., Gorospe A., Guridi J., Alvarez L., & Macias R. (1997) Surgical treatment of Parkinson’s disease , 6(1):125-45

This article provides a sound overview of the surgical procedures that have been used to treat Parkinson’s disease. At present, there are three major surgical approaches to Parkinson’s disease (PD): (1) Ablative surgery (surgery that permanently damages part of the brain to alleviate symptoms); (2) deep brain stimulation (DBS) of structures deep within the brain; and (3) transplanting fetal cells into the brain. As a result of increasing understanding of the function of the basal ganglia (brain structures influential in Parkinson’s disease) and the demonstration of surgical alleviation of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, surgery has regained a paramount importance in the management of PD. Consideration of surgery in any given patient should be weighed against the risks (about 1% mortality and 2-6% having cognitive deficit, speech problems, severe paralysis on one side of the body, etc.) associated with these techniques. The development of better x-ray methods and the growing expertise of multidisciplinary teams will undoubtedly make surgery for PD safer and more effective in the future.

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