STUDY FINDS BRAIN SURGERY MAY HELP SEVERE OCD

According the International OCD Foundation, about 1 in every 100 adults is currently affected by Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), while 1 in 200 children and teens may have OCD as well. Mainstream usage of the term OCD has played down the reality of the disorder, which can be crippling to a patient’s quality of life if the disorder is severe, and an obstacle to normal life if moderate. OCD is an anxiety disorder characterized by repetitive thoughts that create apprehension, anxiety, or fear. It can also manifest in repetitive actions focused on soothing anxiety. For those suffering from extreme OCD, a new study reported in the June 3rd publication of the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, & Psychiatry, may offer some promising information on reducing or, in some cases curing, OCD. Dr. Duma, Newport Beach Neurosurgeon reviews the study.

Brain Surgery for OCD
According to study conducted at Universit Laval in Quebec, Canada, 19 patients underwent a psychosurgery called bilateral capsulotomy between 1997 and 2009. During the psychosurgery tissue was damaged in the internal capsule section of the brain, making lesions. At the conclusion of the study most patients experienced a 25-35 percent reduction in OCD symptoms. In most cases patients went from severe OCD to mild-moderate OCD. Furthermore, seven years post-surgery, three of the patients experienced a full recovery from symptoms, while another three reduced their disorder to minimal symptoms. The study suggested that those who had experienced OCD for 12 years or less, as opposed to the patients who had their OCD for over 20 years, had the highest level of benefit from the surgery.

Other patients have seen an improvement in OCD symptoms through Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS). During DBS an implant is placed in the brain to send electrical impulses. In contrast with psychosurgery, the implant for DBS can be removed, making the surgery reversible. It is recommended that patients who elect to have DBS live near a healthcare center for monitoring and attention should the device need to be removed or fixed quickly. Dr. Duma has performed DBS surgeries for patients with Parkinson’s Disease, chronic pain, tremor, major depression, and dystonia.

While both options come with associated risk, and not all patients will be approved to have surgery, or even benefit from surgery, both options may provide relief to some patients who experience debilitating OCD. During a consultation, Dr. Duma will meet with you to determine your best course of action for treatment and if brain surgery is a recommended option for treatment. To learn more about our Newport Beach Neurosurgery office, call us at (949) 642-6787.

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