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Compr Psychiatry. 1995 Mar-Apr;36(2):141-56.

Neurosurgical treatment of Tourette's syndrome: a critical review.

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Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown 02129, USA.


Some patients with Tourette's syndrome (TS) remain disabled despite conventional treatment. Recently, neurosurgical procedures have been reported to be potentially effective interventions for such intractable cases. Clinicians are now being asked to make recommendations to patients about these candidate operations. This review explores the reported experience with neurosurgical treatment of TS to assess critically the evidence regarding risks and benefits. Toward that end, the rationale for the various procedures and the relevant neuroanatomy are outlined and recommendations for patient selection and management of future cases are discussed. We reviewed all available published reports on this subject and two unpublished cases, totaling 36 patients. Although a variety of operations have been used to treat TS, there is limited evidence pertaining to the risks or benefits of any surgical procedure. Neurosurgical treatment of TS remains experimental, since there is only anecdotal experience with these operations. Furthermore, there is no compelling evidence that any neurosurgical procedure is superior to all others. If these experimental neurosurgeries are to continue, guidelines should be developed regarding patient and operation selection, and interdisciplinary assessment committees should implement such guidelines at institutions where these operations are performed. Moreover, future cases should be prospectively studied using contemporary technologies to assess lesion placement and size and validated clinical instruments to characterize patients and assess outcome, including adverse effects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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