The goals of this study were to analyze the effect of pallidotomy on parkinsonian tremor and to ascertain whether an association exists between microrecording findings and tremor outcome.
Forty-four patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) who had drug-induced dyskinesia, bradykinesia, rigidity, and tremor underwent posteroventral pallidotomy. Using a 1-μ-tip tungsten electrode, microrecordings were obtained through one to three tracts, starting 10 mm above the pallidal base. Tremor severity was measured on a patient-rated, 100-mm Visual Analog Scale (VAS), both preoperatively and 3 to 9 months (mean 6 months) postoperatively.
Preoperatively, tremor was rated as 50 mm or greater in 24 patients (55%) and as less than 25 mm in 13 patients (30%). Postoperatively, tremor was rated as 50 mm or greater in five patients (11%) and less than 25 mm in 29 patients (66%). The difference was significant (p = 0.0001). Four patients (9%) had no postoperative tremor. Tremor improved by at least 50% in eight (80%) of 10 patients in whom tremor-synchronous cells were recorded (Group A) and in 12 (35%) of 34 patients in whom tremor-synchronous cells were not recorded (Group B). This difference was significant (p = 0.03). Tremor improved by at least 50 mm in all (100%) of the seven Group A patients with severe (>= 50 mm) preoperative tremor and in nine (53%) of 17 Group B patients with severe preoperative tremor. This difference was also significant (p = 0.05).
The authors proffer two conclusions: 1) after pallidotomy, tremor improves by at least 50% in two-thirds of patients with PD who have severe (>= 50 mm on the VAS) preoperative tremor; and 2) better tremor control is obtained when tremor-synchronous cells are included in the lesion.