Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate regional structural abnormalities in the brains of five patients with refractory obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) submitted to gamma ventral capsulotomy.
Methods: We acquired morphometric magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data before and after 1 year of radiosurgery using a 1.5-T MRI scanner. Images were spatially normalized and segmented using optimized voxel-based morphometry (VBM) methods. Voxelwise statistical comparisons between pre- and post-surgery MRI scans were performed using a general linear model. Findings in regions predicted a priori to show volumetric changes (orbitofrontal cortex, anterior cingulate gyrus, basal ganglia and thalamus) were reported as significant if surpassing a statistical threshold of p<0.001 (uncorrected for multiple comparisons).
Results: We detected a significant regional postoperative increase in gray matter volume in the right inferior frontal gyri (Brodmann area 47, BA47) when comparing all patients pre and postoperatively.
Conclusions: Our results support the current theory of frontal-striatal-thalamic-cortical (FSTC) circuitry involvement in OCD pathogenesis. Gamma ventral capsulotomy is associated with neurobiological changes in the inferior orbitofrontal cortex in refractory OCD patients.