The authors report on a female patient with left-dominant Parkinson’s disease with motor fluctuations and levodopa-induced dyskinesias and comorbid postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), who underwent a right-sided pallidotomy. Besides a substantial improvement in her Parkinson’s symptoms, she reported an immediate and complete disappearance of PHN. This neuralgia had been long-standing, pharmacologically refractory, and severe (preoperative Brief Pain Inventory [BPI] pain severity score of 8.0, BPI pain interference score of 7.3, short-form McGill Pain Questionnaire sensory pain rating index of 7 and affective pain rating index of 10, Present Pain Intensity rank value of 4, and visual analog scale score of 81 mm; all postoperative scores were 0). She continued to be pain free at 16 months postoperatively.
This peculiar finding adds substantially to the largely unrecognized evidence for the role of the pallidum in pain processing, based on previous electrophysiological, metabolic, anatomical, pharmacological, and clinical observations. Therefore, the potential of the pallidum as a neurosurgical target for neuropathic pain warrants further investigation.