Bilateral orbitomedial leucotomy for obsessive-compulsive disorder

A single-case study using positron emission tomography

P. Sachdev, J. Trollor, A. Walker, W. Wen, M. Fulham, J. S. Smith, J. Matheson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The objective of this report is to correlate the clinical outcome of neurosurgery for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) with regional cerebral glucose metabolic changes. Clinical picture: The patient was a 37-year-old female patient with severe and intractable OCD. Treatment: The patient was treated with bilateral stereotactic lesions in the frontal white matter superior to the orbito-medial cortex. Outcome: She had a remarkable improvement in her obsessive-compulsive symptoms, which was sustained up to 3 years of follow up. A positron emission tomography (PET) scan performed 18 days after surgery demonstrated an obvious reduction of metabolism in the caudate head, anterior cingulate and orbital, medial and lateral prefrontal cortices and the thalamus. At 1 year postsurgery, metabolic rate was still reduced in the anterior cingulate gyrus, caudate and thalamus compared with preoperative baseline. The patient demonstrated no long-term cognitive effects of the surgery. Conclusions: This case supports some of the cortical-subcortical circuit dysfunction models of OCD and argues for the further evaluation of neurosurgery for the treatment of a severe and intractable disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)684-690
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Frontal-subcortical circuits
  • Leucotomy
  • Neurosurgery
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Positron emission tomography

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