Object. There is an active debate regarding whether pallidotomy should be performed using macroelectrode stimulation or the more sophisticated and expensive method of microelectrode recording. No prospective, randomized trial results have answered this question, although personnel at many centers claim one method is superior. In their metaanalysis the authors reviewed published reports of both methods to determine if there is a significant difference in clinical outcomes or complication rates associated with these methods.
Methods. A metaanalysis was performed with data from reports on the use of unilateral pallidotomy in patients with Parkinson disease (PD) that were published between 1992 and 2000. A Medline search was conducted for the key word “pallidotomy” and additional studies were added following a review of the references. Only those studies dealing with unilateral procedures performed in patients with PD were included. Papers were excluded if they described a cohort smaller than 10 patients or a follow-up period shorter than 3 months or included cases that previously had been reported. The primary end points for outcome were the percentages of improvement in dyskinesias and in motor scores determined by the Unified PD Rating Scale (UPDRS). Complications were categorized as mortality, intracranial hemorrhage, visual deficit, speech deficit, cognitive decline, weakness, and other.
There were no significant differences between the two methods with respect to improvements in dyskinesias (p = 0.66) or UPDRS motor scores (p = 0.62). Microelectrode recording was associated with a significantly higher (p = 0.012) intracranial hemorrhage rate (1.3 ± 0.4%), compared with macroelectrode stimulation (0.25 ± 0.2%).
Conclusions. In reports of patients with PD who underwent unilateral pallidotomy, operations that included microelectrode recording were associated with a small, but significantly higher rate of symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage; however, there was no difference in postoperative reduction of dyskinesia or bradykinesia compared with operations that included macroelectrode stimulation.