Does Deep Brain Stimulation Work for OCD?

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A deep brain stimulation is a surgical technique a neurosurgical intervention that's widely used for movement disorders such as Parkinson's disease. It has become an almost routine surgical approach to patients with intractable medication resistant Parkinson's disease. And to the degree that OCD has some common elements with movement disorders, there are other compulsive behaviors, some of the brain circuits that seem to be implicated in OCD, run through the basal ganglia which are also responsible for movements, that there has been interesting developing, neurosurgical approaches like DBS for OCD.

The first reports of that came out in, little over 10 years ago, the data's been encouraging, it is not an established treatment yet. I have personally been involved in two studies, one that's ongoing. The results are promising, but it's clearly reserved for patients with severe chronic treatment resistant OCD, because the risks are significant, the risk of surgery may include having a hemorrhage brain hemorrhage or an infection.

That said, for some patients who have exhausted all the treatment options in some cases, it really restores the quality of their life, and I would say it's been shown effective so far in about 60% of patients.