Stereotactic thalamotomy has traditionally provided good relief of tremor for patients with intractable tremor-dominant Parkinson's disease. However, bradykinesia, dyskinesia, and rigidity are often less reliably treated with this technique. Although posteroventral pallidotomy (PVP) can alleviate dyskinesias, appendicular bradykinesia, and rigidity, tremor may not be completely ameliorated. We have combined Vim/VOp junction thalamotomy and PVP in 29 patients with severe tremor, rigidity, and bradykinesia. Patients underwent unilateral Vim thalamotomy followed at the same sitting by PVP. The distinct physiological consequences of each procedure were documented by intraoperative electromyography (EMG) and video recording, revealing the effects on both tremor and agonist/antagonist co-contraction. Lack of reciprocal inhibition of antagonistic muscle groups often remained following thalamotomy but was eliminated by subsequent PVP. The complementary therapeutic effects of PVP and Vim thalamotomy may be due to the interruption of different neuronal circuits by the two procedures. The effect of Vim thalamotomy has been attributed to the interruption of the rubrothalamocortical loop. PVP interrupts the outflow of the globus pallidus interna (GPi), which may cause disinhibition of locomotor centers in the mesencephalon and spinal cord. There is no direct interruption of the rubrothalamocortical loop by PVP, explaining why this procedure sometimes exacerbates tremor in certain patients. The combination of the two procedures appears to provide excellent relief of the majority of symptoms in patients suffering from tremor-dominant Parkinson's disease.
View details for PubMedID 9079438