Neurosurgery 83:86–92, 2018
Anorexia nervosa (AN) is one of the most challenging psychiatric disorders to treat. The poor clinical outcomes warrant novel treatments for AN, especially in severe and persistent cases.
OBJECTIVE: To explore the feasibility of magnetic resonance imaging-guided bilateral anterior capsulotomy in the treatment of refractory AN.
METHODS: Seventy-four patients diagnosed with refractory AN who underwent capsulotomy completed this 3-yr follow-up study. Outcomesincluded body mass index (BMI) and results froma series of psychiatric scales (for obsessive, depressive, and anxious symptoms) that were implemented at baseline (presurgery), and 1 mo, 1 yr, and 3 yr after surgery.
RESULTS: Compared to presurgical levels, BMI increased significantly at 1-yr and 3-yr follow-ups. Compared to presurgery scores, psychiatric scale scores were significantly improved at 1-mo postsurgery, and continued to remain low at the 1-yr and 3-yr follow-ups. In addition, Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores were in the normal range during the long-term follow-up. The most common short-term side effects included urinary incontinence (n = 7), sleep disorders (n = 8), and fatigue (n = 6). Longterm complications included disinhibition (n = 6), memory loss (n = 3), and lethargy (n = 4). No patient in this study experienced death or disability.
CONCLUSION: Capsulotomy enabled patients with refractory AN to normalize their weight, especially those in life-threatening conditions. While it appears to be an acceptable life-saving treatment, it is indicated only when fulfilling strict criteria given its complications and irreversibility.