Successful deep brain electrode implantation for OCD patient

On October 19, a neurosurgery team led by Chen Liang, a researcher at the Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute and a professor at Fudan University-affiliated Huashan Hospital, collaborated with a functional neurosurgery team from the Shanghai Mental Health Center affiliated with the School of Medicine at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, to successfully perform deep brain electrode implantation for a young obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) patient at Shanghai Mental Health Center.

The 26-year-old has been suffering from OCD for more than 9 years. Every day, he would uncontrollably and repeatedly dwell on questions such as “What is the purpose of living?” or “Is a romantic relationship necessary or not?”, which incapacitated him for a normal life and work.

The patient has visited doctors across the country over several years and tried numerous medications but with poor results. Dr. Wang Zhen, the head of the OCD Diagnosis and Treatment Center at the Shanghai Mental Health Center, led a team to diagnose and treat him several times while continuously optimizing the treatment scheme. After a joint assessment by doctors from several departments and thorough communication with the patient and his family, Dr. Wang Zhen recommended the patient receive a deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery.

DBS is a minimally invasive and reversible neuromodulation technique with few adverse effects. It can improve the patient’s psychiatric symptoms and is considered a promising treatment for severe refractory mental disorders. DBS, with a combination of psychotherapy and medication, offers new opportunities for patients resume a normal life.

The surgery took three hours and according to the treatment team: “Although OCD is a refractory mental illness, we are hopeful and heartened by the persistence of our patients and their families, by the hand-in-hand support of various disciplinary teams, and by the speedy development of modern medicine. We believe that doctors will hold the hands of patients and their families and get through tough times together, not only for alleviating symptoms, but also for a happier life.”