Current status of deep brain stimulation for obsessive-compulsive disorder: A clinical review of different targets

Pelle P. De Koning, Martijn Figee, Pepijn Van Den Munckhof, P. Richard Schuurman, Damiaan Denys

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

149 Scopus citations


Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a chronic psychiatric disorder that affects 2% of the general population. Despite optimal cognitive-behavioral and pharmacologic therapy, approximately 10% of patients remain treatment resistant. Currently, deep brain stimulation (DBS) is being investigated as an experimental therapy for treatment-refractory OCD. This review focuses on the efficacy and adverse events of all published DBS targets for OCD: anterior limb of the internal capsule, ventral striatum/ventral capsule, nucleus accumbens, nucleus subthalamicus, and inferior thalamic peduncle. Small studies with various designs indicate an overall average Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale score decrease ranging from 6.8 to 31 points. The average overall responder rate is ±50%. The frequency of adverse events seems to be limited. Larger prospective studies including neuroimaging are needed to estimate adequately the true potential of DBS in treatment of OCD and to elucidate its underlying mechanism of action and optimal brain target. We conclude that DBS may be a promising and safe therapy for treatment-resistant OCD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-282
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Psychiatry Reports
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Adverse events
  • CTSC
  • Cognitive function
  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Inferior thalamic peduncle
  • Internal capsule
  • MRI
  • Neuroimaging
  • Neurosurgery
  • Nucleus accumbens
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • PET
  • Parkinson
  • Responder
  • Subthalamic nucleus
  • Ventral capsule
  • Ventral striatum
  • Y-BOCS


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