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Acta Neurochir Suppl. 1997;68:61-3.

Obsessive compulsive disorder and the right hemisphere: topographic analysis of lesions after anterior capsulotomy performed with thermocoagulation.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Karolinska Hospital and Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.


Considerable but uncontrolled evidence suggests that stereotactic capsulotomy by means of thermolesions may provide symptomatic relief for patients with otherwise therapy refractory "malignant" obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Unlike in other functional stereotactic interventions, target localization for capsulotomy is based upon anatomical definition only. Few systematic attempts have been made to correlate the site and size of the capsular lesions with postoperative clinical outcome. Between 1976 and 1989 bilateral thermo-capsulotomy (TC) was performed in 22 OCD patients. In 19 patients complete quantitative pre- and postoperative psychiatric rating of OCD symptoms and long-term postoperative MRI studies were available. Cohorts of patients fulfilling criteria for good or poor outcome were contrasted, cases with intermediate treatment effect being excluded. Median postoperative MRI follow-up was 8.4 years (2.4-20.3 y). 9/19 patients fulfilled criteria for good postoperative outcome. In these patients all lesion sites overlapped covering a small area within the right anterior limb of the internal capsule. Lesions within the group of patients with poor outcome (n = 5) were located elsewhere, mostly further anterior in the internal capsule. Differences of lesion overlap between the two outcome groups were significant for the right side (Fisher's Exact Test: p < 0.005). Common topographic features of lesion sites within the right internal capsule were identified in OCD patients responding favourably to capsulotomy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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