We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Pallidotomy?

Mary McMahon
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A pallidotomy is a surgical procedure in which part of the globus pallidus, an area of the brain located within the basal ganglia, is damaged so that it cannot function. As the suffix “-otomy” suggests, a pallidotomy is performed by cutting into the brain with a specialized probe to access the area of interest. This procedure can be very risky, and it is only performed when it is the best option available for the patient.

One might reasonably ask about the circumstances in which destroying part of the brain would be deemed an acceptable treatment for a patient. Pallidotomies are performed on patients with Parkinson's disease. This disease is characterized by shaking and uncontrolled movement. In the early stages, the shaking can be controlled with medications which suppress the actions of cells in the globus pallidus, reducing the shaking. When these medicines stop working, it may be necessary to damage some of the cells to stop them from firing.

During the pallidotomy, the patient is awake. The patient is kept awake because it is important for the surgical team to get feedback from the patient as the probe is placed. Before the surgery, detailed scans of the brain are taken so that the surgeon knows where to go, and the patient's head is placed in a frame which keeps it completely still. As the probe is inserted, the team gets feedback from the patient to confirm that the probe is in the right place, and once it is placed, the pallidotomy can be performed.

If the movement issues are limited to one side of the body, a unilateral pallidotomy will be performed to address only the side which is involved. If the whole body is involved, a bilateral pallidotomy will be performed. Both require the placement of burr holes in the skull to access this area of the brain. Recovery in the hospital after the procedure takes several days, and the patient needs several weeks of recovery at home.

One potentially serious complication of this procedure is a stroke caused by bleeding in the brain, which may lead to additional complications in the future. The surgeon also runs the risk of damaging other areas of the brain. Because of these risks, deep brain stimulation is a popular alternative to pallidotomy, as it is much less dangerous. After the surgery, a neurologist will follow up with the patient to confirm that the procedure was successful, and to identify any signs of troubling complications.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a The Health Board researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.