Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or repetitive behaviors (compulsions) that are:
Some patients with severe OCD may benefit from a state-of-the-art neurosurgical treatment at UPMC called deep brain stimulation (DBS). DBS is a surgical procedure in which a thin wire implanted in a specific area of the brain transmits mild electrical pulses to help control abnormal brain activity.
If a patient has a diagnosis of chronic, severe, treatment-resistant obsessive-compulsive disorder that has become disabling, and has at least a five-year history of OCD, that patient may be referred by a psychiatrist to a specially trained neurosurgeon for deep brain stimulation.
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a surgical procedure in which a thin wire (electrode) is implanted in the area of the brain responsible for the patient’s symptoms.
The electrode, connected to a pulse generator implanted under the skin below the collarbone, carries mild electrical pulses to the brain to help control abnormal behaviors. The DBS procedure, performed by a specially trained neurosurgeon, is both adjustable and reversible.
DBS, which is most often used to treat movement disorders, is approved for OCD treatment under a Humanitarian Device Exemption.
DBS may be considered for patients who: