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Joshua Pepper, Lara Meliak, Harith Akram, Jonathan Hyam, Catherine Milabo, Joseph Candelario, Thomas Foltynie, Patricia Limousin, Carmel Curtis, Marwan Hariz and Ludvic Zrinzo


Infection of deep brain stimulation (DBS) hardware has a significant impact on patient morbidity. Previous experience suggests that infection rates appear to be higher after implantable pulse generator (IPG) replacement surgery than after the de novo DBS procedure. In this study the authors examine the effect of a change in practice during DBS IPG replacements at their institution.


Starting in January 2012, patient screening for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and, and where necessary, eradication was performed prior to elective DBS IPG change. Moreover, topical vancomycin was placed in the IPG pocket during surgery. The authors then prospectively examined the infection rate in patients undergoing DBS IPG replacement at their center over a 3-year period with at least 9 months of follow-up.


The total incidence of infection in this prospective consecutive series of 101 IPG replacement procedures was 0%, with a mean follow-up duration of 24 ± 11 months. This was significantly lower than the authors' previously published historical control group, prior to implementing the change in practice, where the infection rate for IPG replacement was 8.5% (8/94 procedures; p = 0.003).


This study suggests that a change in clinical practice can significantly lower infection rates in patients undergoing DBS IPG replacement. These simple measures can minimize unnecessary surgery, loss of benefit from chronic stimulation, and costly hardware replacement, further improving the cost efficacy of DBS therapies.

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Ludvic Zrinzo, Marwan Hariz, Jonathan A. Hyam, Thomas Foltynie and Patricia Limousin

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Joshua Pepper, Marwan Hariz and Ludvic Zrinzo

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a chronic and debilitating psychiatric condition. Traditionally, anterior capsulotomy (AC) was an established procedure for treatment of patients with refractory OCD. Over recent decades, deep brain stimulation (DBS) has gained popularity. In this paper the authors review the published literature and compare the outcome of AC and DBS targeting of the area of the ventral capsule/ventral striatum (VC/VS) and nucleus accumbens (NAcc).

Patients in published cases were grouped according to whether they received AC or DBS and according to their preoperative scores on the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (YBOCS), and then separated according to outcome measures: remission (YBOCS score < 8); response (≥ 35% improvement in YBOCS score); nonresponse (< 35% improvement in YBOCS score); and unfavorable (i.e., worsening of the baseline YBOCS score).

Twenty studies were identified reporting on 170 patients; 62 patients underwent DBS of the VC/VS or the NAcc (mean age 38 years, follow-up 19 months, baseline YBOCS score of 33), and 108 patients underwent AC (mean age 36 years, follow-up 61 months, baseline YBOCS score of 30). In patients treated with DBS there was a 40% decrease in YBOCS score, compared with a 51% decrease for those who underwent AC (p = 0.004). Patients who underwent AC were 9% more likely to go into remission than patients treated with DBS (p = 0.02). No difference in complication rates was noted.

Anterior capsulotomy is an efficient procedure for refractory OCD. Deep brain stimulation in the VC/VS and NAcc area is an emerging and promising therapy. The current popularity of DBS over ablative surgery for OCD is not due to nonefficacy of AC, but possibly because DBS is perceived as more acceptable by clinicians and patients.

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Fiona A. Wilkes, Harith Akram, Jonathan A. Hyam, Neil D. Kitchen, Marwan I. Hariz and Ludvic Zrinzo


Bibliometrics are the methods used to quantitatively analyze scientific literature. In this study, bibliometrics were used to quantify the scientific output of neurosurgical departments throughout Great Britain and Ireland.


A list of neurosurgical departments was obtained from the Society of British Neurological Surgeons website. Individual departments were contacted for an up-to-date list of consultant (attending) neurosurgeons practicing in these departments. Scopus was used to determine the h-index and m-quotient for each neurosurgeon. Indices were measured by surgeon and by departmental mean and total. Additional information was collected about the surgeon's sex, title, listed superspecialties, higher research degrees, and year of medical qualification.


Data were analyzed for 315 neurosurgeons (25 female). The median h-index and m-quotient were 6.00 and 0.41, respectively. These were significantly higher for professors (h-index 21.50; m-quotient 0.71) and for those with an additional MD or PhD (11.0; 0.57). There was no significant difference in h-index, m-quotient, or higher research degrees between the sexes. However, none of the 16 British neurosurgery professors were female. Neurosurgeons who specialized in functional/epilepsy surgery ranked highest in terms of publication productivity. The 5 top-scoring departments were those in Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge; St. George's Hospital, London; Great Ormond Street Hospital, London; National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square, London; and John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford.


The h-index is a useful bibliometric marker, particularly when comparing between studies and individuals. The m-quotient reduces bias toward established researchers. British academic neurosurgeons face considerable challenges, and women remain underrepresented in both clinical and academic neurosurgery in Britain and Ireland.

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Ludvic Zrinzo, Patric Blomstedt and Marwan Hariz

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Roy A. E. Bakay and Prasad S. S. V. Vannemreddy

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Functional neurosurgery and hemorrhage

Tejas Sankar and Andres M. Lozano

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Ludvic Zrinzo, Thomas Foltynie, Patricia Limousin and Marwan I. Hariz


Hemorrhagic complications carry by far the highest risk of devastating neurological outcome in functional neurosurgery. Literature published over the past 10 years suggests that hemorrhage, although relatively rare, remains a significant problem. Estimating the true incidence of and risk factors for hemorrhage in functional neurosurgery is a challenging issue.


The authors analyzed the hemorrhage rate in a consecutive series of 214 patients undergoing imageguided deep brain stimulation (DBS) lead placement without microelectrode recording (MER) and with routine postoperative MR imaging lead verification. They also conducted a systematic review of the literature on stereotactic ablative surgery and DBS over a 10-year period to determine the incidence and risk factors for hemorrhage as a complication of functional neurosurgery.


The total incidence of hemorrhage in our series of image-guided DBS was 0.9%: asymptomatic in 0.5%, symptomatic in 0.5%, and causing permanent deficit in 0.0% of patients. Weighted means calculated from the literature review suggest that the overall incidence of hemorrhage in functional neurosurgery is 5.0%, with asymptomatic hemorrhage occurring in 1.9% of patients, symptomatic hemorrhage in 2.1% and hemorrhage resulting in permanent deficit or death in 1.1%. Hypertension and age were the most important patient-related factors associated with an increased risk of hemorrhage. Risk factors related to surgical technique included use of MER, number of MER penetrations, as well as sulcal or ventricular involvement by the trajectory. The incidence of hemorrhage in studies adopting an image-guided and image-verified approach without MER was significantly lower than that reported with other operative techniques (p < 0.001 for total number of hemorrhages, p < 0.001 for asymptomatic hemorrhage, p < 0.004 for symptomatic hemorrhage, and p = 0.001 for hemorrhage leading to permanent deficit; Fisher exact test).


Age and a history of hypertension are associated with an increased risk of hemorrhage in functional neurosurgery. Surgical factors that increase the risk of hemorrhage include the use of MER and sulcal or ventricular incursion. The meticulous use of neuroimaging—both in planning the trajectory and for target verification—can avoid all of these surgery-related risk factors and appears to carry a significantly lower risk of hemorrhage and associated permanent deficit.

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Marwan I. Hariz, Patric Blomstedt and Ludvic Zrinzo

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is the most rapidly expanding field in neurosurgery. Movement disorders are well-established indications for DBS, and a number of other neurological and psychiatric indications are currently being investigated.

Numerous contemporary opinions, reviews, and viewpoints on DBS fail to provide a comprehensive account of how this method came into being. Misconceptions in the narrative history of DBS conveyed by the wealth of literature published over the last 2 decades can be summarized as follows: Deep brain stimulation was invented in 1987. The utility of high-frequency stimulation was also discovered in 1987. Lesional surgery preceded DBS. Deep brain stimulation was first used in the treatment of movement disorders and was subsequently used in the treatment of psychiatric and behavioral disorders. Reports of nonmotor effects of subthalamic nucleus DBS prompted its use in psychiatric illness. Early surgical interventions for psychiatric illness failed to adopt a multidisciplinary approach; neurosurgeons often worked “in isolation” from other medical specialists. The involvement of neuro-ethicists and multidisciplinary teams are novel standards introduced in the modern practice of DBS for mental illness that are essential in avoiding the unethical behavior of bygone eras.

In this paper, the authors examined each of these messages in the light of literature published since 1947 and formed the following conclusions. Chronic stimulation of subcortical structures was first used in the early 1950s, very soon after the introduction of human stereotaxy. Studies and debate on the stimulation frequency most likely to achieve desirable results and avoid side effects date back to the early days of DBS; several authors advocated the use of “high” frequency, although the exact frequency was not always specified. Ablative surgery and electrical stimulation developed in parallel, practically since the introduction of human stereotactic surgery. The first applications of both ablative surgery and chronic subcortical stimulation were in psychiatry, not in movement disorders. The renaissance of DBS in surgical treatment of psychiatric illness in 1999 had little to do with nonmotor effects of subthalamic nucleus DBS but involved high-frequency stimulation of the very same brain targets previously used in ablative surgery. Pioneers in functional neurosurgery mostly worked in multidisciplinary groups, including when treating psychiatric illness; those “acting in isolation” were not neurosurgeons. Ethical concerns have indeed been addressed in the past, by neurosurgeons and others. Some of the questionable behavior in surgery for psychiatric illness, including the bygone era of DBS, was at the hands of nonneurosurgeons. These practices have been deemed as “dubious and precarious by yesterday's standards.”