Skip to content

    Parkinson's Disease Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Parkinson's Disease - Surgery

    Brain surgery may be considered when drugs fail to control symptoms of Parkinson's disease or cause severe or disabling side effects.

    Surgery isn't a cure. Drugs are usually still needed after surgery. But you probably won't need as much medicine as before, which means you may have fewer side effects.

    Recommended Related to Parkinson's

    Understanding Parkinson's Disease -- the Basics

    Parkinson's disease mostly affects older people but can also occur in younger adults. The symptoms are the result of the gradual degeneration of nerve cells in the portion of the midbrain that controls body movements. The first signs are likely to be barely noticeable -- a feeling of weakness or stiffness in one limb, or a fine trembling of one hand when it is at rest. Eventually, the shaking (tremor) worsens and spreads, muscles become stiffer, movements slow down, and balance and coordination...

    Read the Understanding Parkinson's Disease -- the Basics article > >

    People who have very advanced Parkinson's or who have other serious problems (such as heart or lung disease, cancer, or kidney failure) usually aren't good candidates for surgery. Surgery usually isn't considered for people who have dementia or psychiatric disorders.

    Surgery choices

    • Deep brain stimulation uses electrical impulses to stimulate a target area in the brain. It's the preferred surgery for treating most cases of advanced Parkinson's.
    • Pallidotomy involves the precise destruction of a very small area in a deep part of the brain that causes symptoms.
    • Thalamotomy involves the precise destruction of a very small area in another part of the brain that causes symptoms.

    Neurotransplantation is an experimental procedure being studied for the treatment of Parkinson's disease. It involves implanting cells that produce dopamine into the brain. Information about how well neurotransplantation works is limited. And it is not a proven treatment or a realistic option for most people at this time.

    See a neurologist

    A neurologist with special training in Parkinson's disease is most often the best kind of doctor to make a decision about surgery. If you might benefit from surgery or deep brain stimulation, your neurologist can refer you to a brain surgeon with experience doing these operations.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: April 18, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    Parkinsons disease illustration
    Causes, symptoms, and treatments.
    hands on walker
    How does the disease progress?
     
    man with serious expression
    8 common questions and answers.
    intelligence quotient illustration
    What are the advantages of DBS?
     
    Parkinsons Disease Medications
    Article
    Questions Doctor Parkinsons
    Article
     
    Eating Right
    Article
    Parkinsons Exercise
    Article
     
    daughter consoling depressed mother
    Article
    senior man's hands
    Article
     
    Parkinsons Daily
    Article
    Acupunture
    Article