Division of Neurosurgery, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.
Background: There is an urgent need to develop safe and effective treatments for patients with treatment-resistant depression (TRD). Several neurosurgical procedures have been developed to treat the dysfunctional brain circuits implicated in major depression.
Objectives: This review describes the most common ablative procedures used to treat major depressive disorder: anterior cingulotomy, subcaudate tractotomy, limbic leucotomy, and anterior capsulotomy. The efficacy and safety of each are discussed and compared with other current and emerging modalities, including deep brain stimulation (DBS) and MR-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS).
Methods: The PubMed and MEDLINE electronic databases were used in this study, through July 2016. Keywords, including "treatment resistant depression," and "ablative neurosurgery," etc. were used to generate reference hits.
Results: Approximately a third to half of patients who underwent ablative procedures achieved a treatment response and/or remission. The efficacy and safety profiles corresponding to both ablative procedures and DBS were very similar.
Conclusions: The longitudinal experience with ablative procedures shows that there remains an important role for accurate, discrete lesions in disrupting affective circuitry in the treatment of TRD. New modalities, such as MRgFUS, have the potential to further improve the accuracy of ablative procedures, while enhancing safety by obviating the need for open brain surgery.
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