Positioning of epidural electrode for motor cortex stimulation in general anesthesia based on intraoperative electrophysiological monitoring to treat refractory trigeminal neuropathic pain

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:3403–3407

Motor cortex stimulation (MCS) represents a treatment option for refractory trigeminal neuralgia (TGN). Usually, patients need to be awake during surgery to confirm a correct position of the epidural electrode above the motor cortex, reducing patient’s comfort.

Method Epidural cortical mapping (ECM) and motor evoked potentials (MEPs) were intraoperatively performed for correct localization of motor cortex under general anesthesia that provided comparable results to test stimulation after letting the patient to be awake during the operation.

Conclusion Intraoperative ECM and MEPs facilitate a confirmation of correct MCS-electrode position above the motor cortex allowing the MCS-procedure to be performed under general anesthesia.

Nucleus accumbens: a systematic review of neural circuitry and clinical studies in healthy and pathological states

J Neurosurg 138:337–346, 2023

The nucleus accumbens (NAcc) of the ventral striatum is critically involved in goal- and reward-based behavior. Structural and functional abnormalities of the NAcc or its associated neural systems are involved in neurological and psychiatric disorders. Studies of neural circuitry have shed light on the subtleties of the structural and functional derangements of the NAcc across various diseases. In this systematic review, the authors sought to identify human studies involving the NAcc and provide a synthesis of the literature on the known circuity of the NAcc in healthy and diseased states, as well as the clinical outcomes following neuromodulation.

METHODS A systematic review was conducted using the PubMed, Embase, and Scopus databases. Neuroimaging studies that reported on neural circuitry related to the human NAcc with sample sizes greater than 5 patients were included. Demographic data, aim, design and duration, participants, and clinical and neurocircuitry details and outcomes of the studies were extracted.

RESULTS Of 3591 resultant articles, 123 were included. The NAcc and its corticolimbic connections to other brain regions, such as the prefrontal cortex, are largely involved in reward and pain processes, with distinct functional circuitry between the shell and core in healthy patients. There is heterogeneity between clinical studies with regard to the NAcc indirect targeting coordinates, methods for postoperative confirmation, and blinded trial design. Neuromodulation studies provided promising clinical results in the context of addiction and substance misuse, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and mood disorders. The most common complications were impaired memory or concentration, and a notable serious complication was hypomania.

CONCLUSIONS The functional diversity of the NAcc highlights the importance of studying the NAcc in healthy and pathological states. The results of this review suggest that NAcc neuromodulation has been attempted in the management of diverse psychiatric indications. There is promising, emerging evidence that the NAcc may be an effective target for specific reward- or pain-based pathologies with a reasonable risk profile.

Fields of Forel Brain Stimulation Improves Levodopa-Unresponsive Gait and Balance Disorders in Parkinson’s Disease

Neurosurgery 89:450–459, 2021

Gait and balance disturbance are challenging symptoms in advanced Parkinson’s disease (PD). Anatomic and clinical data suggest that the fields of Forel may be a potential surgical target to treat these symptoms.

OBJECTIVE: To test whether bilateral stimulation centered at the fields of Forel improves levodopa unresponsive freezing of gait (FOG), balance problems, postural instability, and falls in PD.

METHODS: A total of 13 patients with levodopa-unresponsive gait disturbance (Hoehn and Yahr stage ≥3) were included. Patients were evaluated before (on-medication condition) and 1 yr after surgery (on-medication-on-stimulation condition). Motor symptoms and quality of life were assessed with the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating scale (UPDRS III) and Quality of Life scale (PDQ-39). Clinical and instrumented analyses assessed gait, balance, postural instability, and falls.

RESULTS: Surgery improved balance by 43% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 21.2-36.4 to 35.2-47.1; P = .0012), reduced FOG by 35% (95% CI: 15.1-20.3 to 8.1-15.3; P = .0021), and the monthly number of falls by 82.2% (95% CI: 2.2-6.9 to −0.2-1.7; P = .0039). Anticipatory postural adjustments, velocity to turn, and postural sway measurements also improved 1 yr after deep brain stimulation (DBS). UPDRS III motor scores were reduced by 27.2% postoperatively (95% CI: 42.6-54.3 to 30.2-40.5; P < .0001). Quality of life improved 27.5% (95% CI: 34.6-48.8 to 22.4-37.9; P = .0100).

CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that DBS of the fields of Forel improved motor symptoms in PD, as well as the FOG, falls, balance, postural instability, and quality of life.

What have we learned from 8 years of deep brain stimulation of the anterior thalamic nucleus? Experiences and insights of a single center

J Neurosurg 135:619–628, 2021

In the absence of a standard or guideline for the treatment of epilepsy patients with deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the anterior nucleus of the thalamus (ANT), systematic single-center investigations are essential to establish effective approaches. Here, the authors report on the long-term results of one of the largest single-center ANT DBS cohorts.

METHODS The outcome data of 23 consecutive patients with transventricularly implanted electrodes were retrospectively analyzed with regard to adverse events, lead placement, stimulation-related side effects, and changes in seizure frequency. Depression and quality-of-life scores were collected in a subgroup of 9 patients.

RESULTS All but 2 patients initially underwent bilateral implantation, and 84.4% of all DBS leads were successfully located within the ANT. The mean follow-up time was 46.57 ± 23.20 months. A seizure reduction > 50% was documented in 73.9% of patients, and 34.6% achieved an Engel class I outcome. In 3 patients, clinical response was achieved by switching the electrode contact or changing from the monopolar to bipolar stimulation mode. Unilateral implantation seemed ineffective, whereas bilateral stimulation with successful ANT implantation only on one side led to a clinical response. Double stimulation with additional vagus nerve stimulation was safe. Changes in cycling mode or stimulation amplitude influenced therapy tolerability and, only to a lesser extent, seizure frequency. Side effects were rare and typically vanished by lowering the stimulation amplitude or changing the active electrode contact. Furthermore, depression and aspects of quality of life significantly improved with ANT DBS treatment.

CONCLUSIONS The transventricular approach as well as double stimulation proved safe. The anteroventral ANT appeared to be the most efficacious stimulation site. This systematic investigation with reluctant medication changes allowed for the development of a better idea of the association between parameter changes and outcome in ANT DBS patients, but larger samples are still needed to assess the potential of bipolar stimulation and distinct cycling frequencies. Furthermore, more multifaceted and objective assessments of treatment outcome are needed to fully assess the effects of ANT DBS treatment.

A Novel Framework for Network-Targeted Neuropsychiatric Deep Brain Stimulation

Neurosurgery 89:E116–E121, 2021

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has emerged as a promising therapy for neuropsychiatric illnesses, including depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder, but has shown inconsistent results in prior clinical trials. We propose a shift away from the empirical paradigm for developing new DBS applications, traditionally based on testing brain targets with conventional stimulation paradigms. Instead, we propose a multimodal approach centered on an individualized intracranial investigation adapted from the epilepsy monitoring experience, which integrates comprehensive behavioral assessment, such as the Research Domain Criteria proposed by the National Institutes of Mental Health. In this paradigm-shifting approach, we combine readouts obtained from neurophysiology, behavioral assessments, and self-report during broad exploration of stimulation parameters and behavioral tasks to inform the selection of ideal DBS parameters. Such an approach not only provides a foundational understanding of dysfunctional circuits underlying symptom domains in neuropsychiatric conditions but also aims to identify generalizable principles that can ultimately enable individualization and optimization of therapy without intracranial monitoring.

Deep brain stimulation for aggressiveness: long-term follow-up and tractography study of the stimulated brain areas

J Neurosurg 134:366–375, 2021

Initial studies applying deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the posteromedial hypothalamus (PMH) to patients with pathological aggressiveness have yielded encouraging results. However, the anatomical structures involved in its therapeutic effect have not been precisely identified. The authors’ objective was to describe the long-term outcome in their 7-patient series, and the tractography analysis of the volumes of tissue activated in 2 of the responders.

METHODS This was a retrospective study of 7 subjects with pathological aggressiveness. The findings on MRI with diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in 2 of the responders were analyzed. The authors generated volumes of tissue activated according to the parameters used, and selected those volumes as regions of interest to delineate the tracts affected by stimulation.

RESULTS The series consisted of 5 men and 2 women. Of the 7 patients, 5 significantly improved with stimulation. The PMH, ventral tegmental area, dorsal longitudinal fasciculus, and medial forebrain bundle seem to be involved in the stimulation field.

CONCLUSIONS In this series, 5 of 7 medication-resistant patients with severe aggressiveness who were treated with bilateral PMH DBS showed a significant long-lasting improvement. The PMH, ventral tegmental area, dorsal longitudinal fasciculus, and medial forebrain bundle seem to be in the stimulation field and might be responsible for the therapeutic effect of DBS.


Deep Brain Stimulation in Epilepsy: A Role for Modulation of the Mammillothalamic Tract in Seizure Control?

Neurosurgery DOI:10.1093/neuros/nyaa141

Deep brain stimulation of the anterior nucleus of the thalamus (ANT-DBS) can improve seizure control for patients with drug-resistant epilepsy (DRE). Yet, one cannot overlook the high discrepancy in efficacy among patients, possibly resulting from differences in stimulation site.

OBJECTIVE: To test the hypothesis that stimulation at the junction of the ANT and mammillothalamic tract (ANT-MTT junction) increases seizure control.

METHODS: The relationship between seizure control and the location of the active contacts to the ANT-MTT junction was investigated in 20 patients treated with ANT-DBS for DRE. Coordinates and Euclidean distance of the active contacts relative to the ANT-MTT junction were calculated and related to seizure control. Stimulation sites were mapped by modelling the volume of tissue activation (VTA) and generating stimulation heat maps. RESULTS: After 1 yr of stimulation, patients had a median 46% reduction in total seizure frequency, 50% were responders, and 20% of patients were seizure-free. The Euclidean distance of the active contacts to the ANT-MTT junction correlates to change in seizure frequency (r 2 = 0.24, P = .01) and is ∼30% smaller (P = .015) in responders than in non-responders. VTA models and stimulation heat maps indicate a hot-spot at the ANT-MTT junction for responders, whereas non-responders had no evident hot-spot. C

CONCLUSION: Stimulation at the ANT-MTT junction correlates to increased seizure control. Our findings suggest a relationship between the stimulation site and therapy response in ANT-DBS for epilepsy with a potential role for the MTT. DBS directed at white matter merits further exploration for the treatment of epilepsy.

Somatosensory functional MRI tractography for individualized targeting of deep brain stimulation in patients with chronic pain after brachial plexus injury

Acta Neurochirurgica (2019) 161:2485–2490

The optimal targets for deep brain stimulation (DBS) in patients with refractory chronic pain are not clearly defined. We applied sensory functional MRI (fMRI)- and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI)-based DBS in chronic pain patients into 3 different targets to ascertain the most beneficial individual stimulation site.

Methods Three patients with incapacitating chronic pain underwent DBS into 3 targets (periventricular gray (PVG), ventroposterolateral thalamus (VPL), and posterior limb of the internal capsule according to fMRI and DTI (PLIC). The electrodes were externalized and double-blinded tested for several days. Finally, the two electrodes with the best pain reduction were kept for permanent stimulation. The patients were then followed up for 12 months. Outcome measures comprised the numerical rating scale (NRS), short-form McGill’s score (SF-MPQ), and health-related quality of life (SF-36).

Results Continuous pain (mean NRS 6.6) was reduced to NRS 3.6 after 12 months. Only with stimulation of the PLIC pain attacks, that occurred at least 3 times a week (mean NRS 9.6) resolved in 2 patients and improved in one patient concerning both intensity (NRS 5) and frequency (twice a month). The mean SF-MPQ decreased from 92.7 to 50. The health-related quality of life improved considerably.

Conclusion fMRI- and DTI-based DBS to the PLIC was the only target with a significant effect on pain attacks and seems to be the most promising target in chronic pain patients after brachial plexus injury. The combination with PVG or VPL can further improve patients’ outcome especially in terms of reducing the continuous pain.

Contemporary concepts of pain surgery

J Neurosurg 130:1039–1049, 2019

Pain surgery is one of the historic foundations of neurological surgery. The authors present a review of contemporary concepts in surgical pain management, with reference to past successes and failures, what has been learned as a subspecialty over the past 50 years, as well as a vision for current and future practice.

This subspecialty confronts problems of cancer pain, nociceptive pain, and neuropathic pain. For noncancer pain, ablative procedures such as dorsal root entry zone lesions and rhizolysis for trigeminal neuralgia (TN) should continue to be practiced. Other procedures, such as medial thalamotomy, have not been proven effective and require continued study. Dorsal rhizotomy, dorsal root ganglionectomy, and neurotomy should probably be abandoned.

For cancer pain, cordotomy is an important and underutilized method for pain control. Intrathecal opiate administration via an implantable system remains an important option for cancer pain management.

While there are encouraging results in small case series, cingulotomy, hypophysectomy, and mesencephalotomy deserve further detailed analysis.

Electrical neuromodulation is a rapidly changing discipline, and new methods such as high-frequency spinal cord stimulation (SCS), burst SCS, and dorsal root ganglion stimulation may or may not prove to be more effective than conventional SCS. Despite a history of failure, deep brain stimulation for pain may yet prove to be an effective therapy for specific pain conditions. Peripheral nerve stimulation for conditions such as occipital neuralgia and trigeminal neuropathic pain remains an option, although the quality of outcomes data is a challenge to these applications. Based on the evidence, motor cortex stimulation should be abandoned. TN is a mainstay of the surgical treatment of pain, particularly as new evidence and insights into TN emerge.

Pain surgery will continue to build on this heritage, and restorative procedures will likely find a role in the armamentarium. The challenge for the future will be to acquire higher-level evidence to support the practice of surgical pain management.



Congress of Neurological Surgeons Systematic Review and Evidence-Based Guideline on Subthalamic Nucleus and Globus Pallidus Internus Deep Brain Stimulation for the Treatment of Patients With Parkinson’s Disease

Neurosurgery 82:753–756, 2018

QUESTION 1: Is bilateral subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation (STN DBS) more, less, or as effective as bilateral globus pallidus internus deep brain stimulation (GPi DBS) in treating motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, as measured by improvements in Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale, part III (UPDRS-III) scores?

RECOMMENDATION: Given that bilateral STN DBS is at least as effective as bilateral GPi DBS in treating motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (as measured by improvements in UPDRS-III scores), consideration can be given to the selection of either target in patients undergoing surgery to treat motor symptoms. (Level I)

QUESTION 2: Is bilateral STN DBS more, less, or as effective as bilateral GPi DBS in allowing reduction of dopaminergic medication in Parkinson’s disease?

RECOMMENDATION: When the main goal of surgery is reduction of dopaminergic medications in a patient with Parkinson’s disease, then bilateral STN DBS should be performed instead of GPi DBS. (Level I)

QUESTION 3: Is bilateral STN DBSmore, less, or as effective as bilateral GPi DBS in treating dyskinesias associated with Parkinson’s disease?

RECOMMENDATION: There is insufficient evidence to make a generalizable recommendation regarding the target selection for reduction of dyskinesias. However, when the reduction of medication is not anticipated and there is a goal to reduce the severity of “on” medication dyskinesias, the GPi should be targeted. (Level I)

QUESTION 4: Is bilateral STN DBS more, less, or as effective as bilateral GPi DBS in improving quality of life measures in Parkinson’s disease?

RECOMMENDATION:When considering improvements in quality of life in a patient undergoing DBS for Parkinson’s disease, there is no basis to recommend bilateral DBS in 1 target over the other. (Level I) QUESTION 5: Is bilateral STN DBS associated with greater, lesser, or a similar impact on neurocognitive function than bilateral GPi DBS in Parkinson disease?

RECOMMENDATION: If there is significant concern about cognitive decline, particularly in regards to processing speed and working memory in a patient undergoing DBS, then the clinician should consider using GPi DBS rather than STN DBS, while taking into consideration other goals of surgery. (Level I)

QUESTION 6: Is bilateral STN DBS associated with a higher, lower, or similar risk of mood disturbance than GPi DBS in Parkinson’s disease?

RECOMMENDATION: If there is significant concern about the risk of depression in a patient undergoing DBS, then the clinician should consider using pallidal rather than STN stimulation, while taking into consideration other goals of surgery. (Level I)

QUESTION 7: Is bilateral STN DBS associated with a higher, lower, or similar risk of adverse events compared to GPi DBS in Parkinson’s disease?

RECOMMENDATION: There is insufficient evidence to recommend bilateral DBS in 1 target over the other in order to minimize the risk of surgical adverse events.

The full guideline can be found at: https://www.cns.org/guidelines/deep-brainstimulation- parkinsons-disease.


Noninvasive neuromodulation and thalamic mapping with low-intensity focused ultrasound

J Neurosurg 128:875–884, 2018

Ultrasound can be precisely focused through the intact human skull to target deep regions of the brain for stereotactic ablations. Acoustic energy at much lower intensities is capable of both exciting and inhibiting neural tissues without causing tissue heating or damage. The objective of this study was to demonstrate the effects of low-intensity focused ultrasound (LIFU) for neuromodulation and selective mapping in the thalamus of a large-brain animal.

METHODS Ten Yorkshire swine (Sus scrofa domesticus) were used in this study. In the first neuromodulation experiment, the lemniscal sensory thalamus was stereotactically targeted with LIFU, and somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEPs) were monitored. In a second mapping experiment, the ventromedial and ventroposterolateral sensory thalamic nuclei were alternately targeted with LIFU, while both trigeminal and tibial evoked SSEPs were recorded. Temperature at the acoustic focus was assessed using MR thermography. At the end of the experiments, all tissues were assessed histologically for damage.

RESULTS LIFU targeted to the ventroposterolateral thalamic nucleus suppressed SSEP amplitude to 71.6% ± 11.4% (mean ± SD) compared with baseline recordings. Second, we found a similar degree of inhibition with a high spatial resolution (~ 2 mm) since adjacent thalamic nuclei could be selectively inhibited. The ventromedial thalamic nucleus could be inhibited without affecting the ventrolateral nucleus. During MR thermography imaging, there was no observed tissue heating during LIFU sonications and no histological evidence of tissue damage.

CONCLUSIONS These results suggest that LIFU can be safely used to modulate neuronal circuits in the central nervous system and that noninvasive brain mapping with focused ultrasound may be feasible in humans.

Invasive Motor Cortex Stimulation for Trigeminal Facial Neuropathic Pain Syndromes


Neurosurgery 79:655–666, 2016

Invasive neuromodulation of the cortical surface for various chronic pain syndromes has been performed for .20 years. The significance of motor cortex stimulation (MCS) in chronic trigeminal neuropathic pain (TNP) syndromes remains unclear. Different techniques are performed worldwide in regard to operative procedure, stimulation parameters, test trials, and implanted materials.

OBJECTIVE: To present the clinical experiences of a single center with MCS, surgical approach, complications, and follow-up as a prospective, noncontrolled clinical trial.

METHODS: The implantation of epidural leads over the motor cortex was performed via a burr hole technique with neuronavigation and intraoperative neurostimulation. Special focus was placed on a standardized test trial with an external stimulation device and the implementation of a double-blinded or placebo test phase to identify falsepositive responders.

RESULTS: A total of 36 patients with TNP were operated on, and MCS was performed. In 26 of the 36 patients (72%), a significant pain reduction from a mean of 8.11 to 4.58 (on the visual analog scale) during the test trial was achieved (P , .05). Six patients were identified as false-positive responders (17%). At the last available follow-up of 26 patients (mean, 5.6 years), active MCS led to a significant pain reduction compared with the preoperative pain ratings (mean visual analog scale score, 5.01; P , .05).

CONCLUSION: MCS is an additional therapeutic option for patients with refractory chronic TNP, and significant long-term pain suppression can be achieved. Placebo or double-blinded testing is mandatory.

Deep Brain Stimulation for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder


Neurosurgery 75:327–333, 2014

It is estimated that 40% to 60% of patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) continue to experience symptoms despite adequate medical management. For this population of treatment-refractory patients, promising results have been reported with the use of deep brain stimulation (DBS).

OBJECTIVE: To conduct a systematic review of the literature and develop evidencebased guidelines on DBS for OCD.

METHODS: A systematic literature search was undertaken using the PubMed database for articles published between 1966 and October 2012 combining the following words: “deep brain stimulation and obsessive-compulsive disorder” or “electrical stimulation and obsessivecompulsive disorder.” Of 353 articles, 7 were retrieved for full-text review and analysis. The quality of the articles was assigned to each study and the strength of recommendation graded according to the guidelines development methodology of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons Joint Guidelines Committee.

RESULTS: Of the 7 studies, 1 class I and 2 class II double-blind, randomized, controlled trials reported that bilateral DBS is more effective in improving OCD symptoms than sham treatment.

CONCLUSION: Based on the data published in the literature, the following recommendations can be made: (1) There is Level I evidence, based on a single class I study, for the use of bilateral subthalamic nucleus DBS for the treatment of medically refractory OCD. (2) There is Level II evidence, based on a single class II study, for the use of bilateral nucleus accumbens DBS for the treatment of medically refractory OCD. (3) There is insufficient evidence to make a recommendation for the use of unilateral DBS for the treatment of medically refractory OCD.

Unilateral Extradural Motor Cortex Stimulation Is Safe and Improves Parkinson Disease at 1 Year

Neurosurgery 71:815–825, 2012

The primary motor cortex, which is part of the corticobasal ganglia loops, may be an alternative option for the surgical treatment of Parkinson disease.

OBJECTIVE: To report on the 1-year safety and efficacy of unilateral extradural motor cortex stimulation in Parkinson disease.

METHODS: A quadripolar electrode strip was extradurally implanted over the motor cortex. Stimulation was continuously delivered through the electrode paddle contralateral to the most affected clinical side. Subjects were prospectively evaluated by the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) and the Parkinson’s Disease Quality of Life Questionnaire. In addition, an extensive cognitive and behavioral assessment and electroencephalogram recording were performed.

RESULTS: Nine patients were included in this study. No surgical complications or adverse events occurred. Moreover, no cognitive or behavioral changes were observed. Under the off-medication condition, the UPDRS III at baseline was decreased by 14.1%, 23.3%, 19.9%, and 13.2%, at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months, respectively. The motor effects were bilateral, appeared after 3 to 4 weeks of stimulation, and outlasted the stimulation itself for 3 to 4 weeks in 1 case of stimulator accidental switching off. The UPDRS IV was decreased by 40.8%, 42.1%, and 35.5% at 1, 3, and 12 months, respectively. The scores on the Parkinson’s Disease Quality of Life Questionnaire were increased at months 3, 6, and 12.

CONCLUSION: Extradural motor cortex stimulation is a safe procedure. After 12 months, the patients demonstrated a moderate improvement of motor symptoms (particularly axial symptoms) and quality of life.

Obesity and Brain Addiction Circuitry: Implications for Deep Brain Stimulation

Neurosurgery 71:224–238, 2012 DOI: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e31825972ab

Obesity is a growing health problem worldwide and is responsible for a significant proportion of health expenditures in developed nations. It is also notoriously difficult to treat. Prior attempts at pharmacological or neurological modulation, including deep brain stimulation, have primarily targeted homeostatic mechanisms of weight control centered in the hypothalamus. To date, these attempts have had limited success. Multiple lines of independent data suggest that dysregulated reward circuitry in the brain underlies behaviors leading to obesity.

Here, we review the existing data and related neurocircuitry, as well as the scope of obesity and currently available treatments. Finally, we suggest a neuromodulation strategy geared toward regulating these dysfunctional circuits, primarily by alteration of frontolimbic circuits.

Epidural Cortical Stimulation of the Left Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex for Refractory Major Depressive Disorder

Neurosurgery 69:1015–1029, 2011 DOI: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e318229cfcd

A significant number of patients with major depressive disorder are unresponsive to conventional therapies. For these patients, neuromodulation approaches are being investigated.

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether epidural cortical stimulation at the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is safe and efficacious for major depressive disorder through a safety and feasibility study.

METHODS: Twelve patients were recruited in this randomized, single-blind, shamcontrolled study with a 104-week follow-up period. The main outcome measures were Hamilton Depression Rating Scale-28 (HDRS), Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS), Global Assessment of Function (GAF), and Quality of Life Enjoyment and Satisfaction (QLES) questionnaire. An electrode was implanted over Brodmann area 9/46 in the left hemisphere. The electrode provided long-term stimulation to this target via its connections to an implanted neurostimulator in the chest.

RESULTS: During the sham-controlled phase, there was no statistical difference between sham and active stimulation, although a trend toward efficacy was seen with the active stimulation group. In the open-label phase, we observed a significant improvement in outcome scores for the HDRS, MADRS, and GAF but not the QLES (HDRS: df = 7, F = 7.72, P < .001; MADRS: df = 7, F = 8.2, P < .001; GAF: df = 5, F = 16.87, P < .001; QLES: df = 5, F = 1.32, P . .2; repeated measures ANOVA). With regard to the HDRS, 6 patients had ≥40% improvement, 5 patients had ≥ 50% improvement, and 4 subjects achieved remission (HDRS , 10) at some point during the study.

CONCLUSION: Epidural cortical stimulation of the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex appears to be a safe and potentially efficacious neuromodulation approach for treatment- refractory major depressive disorder.