Objectives: To document the impact of bilateral posteroventral pallidotomy on cognitive status. Methods: 17 patients with Parkinson's disease were evaluated with a neuropsychological battery before and six months after bilateral pallidotomy. A comparison group (n = 8) was also assessed at six month intervals. Outcome variables were tests of memory, language, visuospatial function, attention, executive skills, and depression. Results: Despite a large number of variables studied, a significant postsurgical change was found only in performance of the tower of London task, a measure of planning abilities. The effect size of this change was larger than that of the comparison group, and a reliable change index score established that 5 of 13 surgical patients had statistically reliable reductions in planning performance. Conclusions: Patients with a young age of onset and long duration of Parkinson's disease who underwent bilateral pallidotomy had a relatively circumscribed reduction in neuropsychological functioning, being limited to motor planning efficiency. These data suggest that the cognitive role of the posteroventral globus pallidus is limited, at least in people with Parkinson's disease.