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Stereotact Funct Neurosurg. 2014;92(1):37-43. doi: 10.1159/000350036. Epub 2013 Nov 8.

Stereotactic neurosurgical technique and electrophysiological study in ablating the ventromedial shell of the nucleus accumbens.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Nanfang Hospital, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China.



To describe in as much detail as possible the method for ablating the ventromedial shell of the nucleus accumbens (NAc) and investigate the efficacy and safety of the ablation treatment.


Sixty-five patients with drug addictions received operations within the time frame from 2004 to 2009. The ablation targets were located in the bilateral medial posterior inferior shell of the NAc. Intraoperative electrophysiological monitoring was performed.


Tissue impedance in the shell of the NAc varied from 185 to 355 Ω. When stimulated with a low frequency (2 Hz) and a voltage above 3 V, 57 out of 65 (87.7%) patients experienced slight throbbing sensations. During the lesion procedure, fever was detected on the head and face of 59 patients (90.8%), the heart rate decreased in 19 cases (29.2%), and restlessness, irritability and hyperalgia were noted for all patients. Among the 65 patients, 52 (80%) no longer experienced a psychological craving for the drug.


The shell of the NAc may be a promising surgical target for psychosurgery. Electrophysiological recordings revealed that the shell is indeed an appropriate structure.

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