Magnetic Resonance Imaging-Guided Laser Thermal Ventral Capsulotomy for Intractable Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Neurosurgery 88:1128–1135, 2021

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a disabling condition characterized by intrusive thoughts and repetitive behaviors. A subset of individuals have severe, treatment-resistant illness and are nonresponsive to medication or behavioral therapies. Without response to conventional therapeutic options, surgical intervention becomes an appropriate consideration.

OBJECTIVE: To report clinical outcomes and the safety profile of bilateral ventral anterior capsulotomy for OCD using magnetic resonance (MR)-guided laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT) in 10 patients followed for 6 to 24 mo.

METHODS: A total of 10 patients underwent LITT for severe OCD; 1 patient withdrew prior to follow-up. LITT is a minimally invasive ablative technique performed with precise targeting and use of thermography under MR guidance. Lesions of the ventral anterior limb of the internal capsule by other techniques have been shown to be efficacious in prior studies.

RESULTS: A total of 7 of the 9 patients were considered full responders (77.8%; Yale- Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale change ≥35%). Adverse effects included transient apathy/amotivation postsurgery (2 patients). One patient had a small tract hemorrhage where the laser fiber traversed the cerebral cortex as well as persistent insomnia postsurgery. One individual died after a drug overdose 7 mo postsurgery, which was judged unrelated to the surgery.

CONCLUSION: LITT ventral capsulotomy was generally well tolerated, with promising evidence of effectiveness in the largest such series to date. Results were comparable to those after gamma knife ventral capsulotomy, as well as ventral anterior limb deep brain stimulation.