Cingulotomy for intractable obsessive-compulsive disorder. Prospective long-term follow-up of 18 patients

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1995 May;52(5):384-92. doi: 10.1001/archpsyc.1995.03950170058008.


Background: The purpose of this study was to assess prospectively long-term change in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) symptoms in patients with an OCD diagnosis that was confirmed by structured interview and with documented unsuccessful trials of multiple medications and attempts at behavior therapy.

Methods: We conducted an unblinded preoperative and follow-up assessment of comorbid diagnosis; OCD, depressive, and anxiety symptoms; and functional status in 18 patients who underwent cingulotomy.

Results: At a mean follow-up of 26.8 months, five patients (28%) met conservative criteria for treatment responders, and three others (17%) were partial responders. The group improved significantly in mean functional status, and few serious adverse events were found. Improvement in OCD symptoms was strongly correlated with improvement in depressive and anxiety symptoms.

Conclusions: The rate of clinical improvement was consistent with a previous retrospective study in the same setting, indicating that 25% to 30% of the patients who previously were unresponsive to medication and behavioral treatments are significantly improved after cingulotomy. Cingulotomy remains a last resort treatment for severely incapacitated patients who have not responded to all other state-of-the-art pharmacological and behavioral treatments for OCD and is not to be taken lightly.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Aged
  • Behavior Therapy
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gyrus Cinguli / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / psychology
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / surgery*
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / therapy
  • Probability
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychosurgery*
  • Quality of Life
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Sickness Impact Profile
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors