Deep brain stimulation for obsessive compulsive disorder: A review of results by anatomical target

Ment Illn. 2018 Nov 6;10(2):7900. doi: 10.4081/mi.2018.7900.


Studies suggest deep brain stimulation (DBS) as a treatment modality for the refractory obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It is unclear where to place the DBS. Various sites are proposed for placement with the ventral capsule/ventral striatum (VC/VS) among the most studied. Herein, we aim to summarize both quantitative Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (YBOCS) data and qualitative descriptions of the participants' symptoms when given. A literature search conducted via PubMed yielded 32 articles. We sought to apply a standard based on the utilization of YBOCS. This yielded 153 distinct patients. The outcome measure we focused on in this review is the latest YBOCS score reported for each patient/cohort in comparison to the location of the DBS. A total of 32 articles were found in the search results. In total, 153 distinct patients' results were reported in these studies. Across this collection of papers, a total of 9 anatomic structures were targeted. The majority of studies showed a better response at the last time point as compared to the first time point. Most patients had DBS at nucleus accumbens followed by VC/VS and the least patients had DBS at the bilateral superolateral branch of the median forebrain bundle and the bilateral basolateral amygdala. The average YBOCS improvement did not seem to directly correlate with the percentile of patients responding to the intervention. Well-controlled, randomized studies with larger sample sizes with close follow up are needed to provide a more accurate determination for placement of DBS for OCD.

Keywords: Obsessive compulsive disorder; anatomical target; deep brain stimulation.

Grant support

Funding: none.