Effect of Bilateral Anterior Cingulotomy on Chronic Neuropathic Pain with Severe Depression

World Neurosurg. (2019) 121:196-200.

The presence of neuropathic pain can severely impinge on emotional regulation and activities of daily living including social activities, resulting in diminished life satisfaction. Unfortunately, the majority of patients with neuropathic pain do not experience an amelioration of symptoms from conventional therapies, even when multimodal therapies are used. Chronic refractory neuropathic pain is usually accompanied by severe depression that is prone to incur suicidal events; thus clinical management of chronic neuropathic pain and depression presents a serious challenge for clinicians and patients.

CASE DESCRIPTION: Two patients presented at our institution with neuropathic pain and severe depression. The patients had different pain symptoms emerging a few months after central or peripheral nervous system impairment. These symptoms were associated with the development of severe depression, social isolation, and a gradual inability to perform daily activities. Both patients were referred to our treatment center for bilateral anterior cingulotomy. After surgery, both patients showed significant progressive improvements in perceived pain, mental health status, and daily functioning. –

CONCLUSIONS: Bilateral anterior cingulotomy may serve as an alternative treatment for medically refractory neuropathic pain, especially for patients who also experience depression