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Marwan I. Hariz and A. Tommy Bergenheim

✓ Thalamic, pallidal, and hypothalamic targets were determined in 16 patients by a stereotactic computerized tomography (CT) study using a noninvasive technique with Laitinen's Stereoadapter. At surgery, the Stereoadapter was remounted to the head and the stereotactic CT coordinates were transferred to the Stereoguide without radiography. Air ventriculography was then carried out. The positions of the anterior and posterior commissures (AC and PC), the length of the intercommissural (IC) line, the width of the third ventricle, and the stereotactic coordinates of the target were measured on the ventriculograms and compared to the stereotactic CT measurements. The study showed that the width of the third ventricle was significantly larger on the ventriculograms than on the stereotactic CT scans, whereas the length of the IC line was not significantly different. The differences in the coordinates of the target and of the AC and PC were statistically significant only for the anteroposterior (y) coordinate. Both commissures as well as the surgical target lay, on average, 1.0 mm more anteriorly on the ventriculograms than on the stereotactic CT study.

It is concluded that air ventriculography may cause slight anterior displacement of the midbrain structures. The surgical coordinates of the targets based on the stereotactic CT study with the Stereoadapter were on average as accurate as those obtained with ventriculography; therefore, ventriculography may become superfluous in functional stereotaxis.

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Joshua Pepper, Ludvic Zrinzo, and Marwan Hariz

Over the last two decades, deep brain stimulation (DBS) has gained popularity as a treatment of severe and medically refractory obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), often using brain targets informed by historical lesional neurosurgical procedures. Paradoxically, the use of DBS in OCD has led some multidisciplinary teams to revisit the use of lesional procedures, especially anterior capsulotomy (AC), although significant aversion still exists toward the use of lesional neurosurgery for psychiatric disorders. This paper aims to review all literature on the use of AC for OCD to examine its effectiveness and safety profile.

All publications on AC for OCD were searched. In total 512 patients were identified in 25 publications spanning 1961–2018. In papers where a Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS) score was available, 73% of patients had a clinical response (i.e., > 35% improvement in Y-BOCS score) and 24% patients went into remission (Y-BOCS score < 8). In the older publications, published when the Y-BOCS was not yet available, 90% of patients were deemed to have had a significant clinical response and 39% of patients were considered symptom free. The rate of serious complications was low.

In summary, AC is a safe, well-tolerated, and efficacious therapy. Its underuse is likely a result of historical prejudice rather than lack of clinical effectiveness.

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Marwan I. Hariz and A. Tommy Bergenheim

Object. The clinical condition of patients with Parkinson disease (PD) who had undergone posteroventral pallidotomy (PVP) between 1985 and 1990 was evaluated at a mean of 10 years postsurgery. These patients were part of a larger series described in the first paper on Leksell's PVP that was published in 1992.

Methods. Thirteen consecutive patients who had undergone pallidotomy at the University Hospital of Northern Sweden were tracked. Hospital and clinic records that had been updated regularly by the patients' various neurologists, geriatricians, and other clinicians were reviewed. Emphasis was placed on assessing the evolution of PD symptoms after surgery, and changes in the general health and social condition of the patients.

The mean follow-up duration was 10.5 years (range 3–13.5 years). Five patients underwent a total of seven subsequent surgeries for their PD, 4 months to 11 years after the initial pallidotomy. The mean Hoehn and Yahr stage was 3 at the first surgery and 3.7 at the last follow-up review (p < 0.005). Dosages of levodopa and dopamine agonists were increased in all patients, without recurrence or induction of dyskinesias contralateral to the pallidotomy. Contralateral tremor, if it was initially controlled by surgery, remained improved. However, most patients exhibited a gradual recurrence of akinesia and an increase in gait freezing. Cognitive decline and presentation with diseases unrelated to PD were not uncommon.

Conclusions. The long-term effect of PVP on dyskinesias was not only curative but also appeared to be prophylactic. Contralateral tremor was improved in the majority of patients, although additional surgeries for PD were needed in some patients. Further progression of axial and akinetic symptoms, and an eventual decline in cognition together with other concomitant illnesses, contributed to increased disability in several patients.

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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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Johanna Philipson, Patric Blomstedt, Marwan Hariz, and Marjan Jahanshahi


The ventral intermediate nucleus (VIM) of the thalamus is currently the established target in the use of deep brain stimulation (DBS) to treat essential tremor (ET). In recent years, the caudal zona incerta (cZi), a brain target commonly used during the lesional era, has been revived as the primary target in a number of DBS studies that show evidence of the efficacy of cZi targeting in DBS treatment for controlling the symptoms of ET. The authors sought to obtain comprehensive neuropsychological data and thoroughly investigate the cognitive effects of cZi targeting in patients with ET treated with DBS.


Twenty-six consecutive patients with ET who received DBS with cZi as the target at our department from December 2012 to February 2017 were included in this study. All patients were assessed using a comprehensive neuropsychological test battery covering the major cognitive domains both preoperatively and 12 months postoperatively.


The results show no major adverse effects on patient performance on the tests of cognitive function other than a slight decline of semantic verbal fluency.


This study indicates that the cZi is a safe target from a cognitive perspective in the treatment of ET with DBS.

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Lauri V. Laitinen, A. Tommy Bergenheim, and Marwan I. Hariz

✓ Between 1985 and 1990, the authors performed stereotactic posteroventral pallidotomies on 38 patients with Parkinson's disease whose main complaint was hypokinesia. Upon re-examination 2 to 71 months after surgery (mean 28 months), complete or almost complete relief of rigidity and hypokinesia was observed in 92% of the patients. Of the 32 patients who before surgery also suffered from tremor, 26 (81%) had complete or almost complete relief of tremor. The L-dopa-induced dyskinesias and muscle pain had greatly improved or disappeared in most patients, and gait and speech volume also showed remarkable improvement. Complications were observed in seven patients: six had a permanent partial homonymous hemianopsia (one also had transient dysphasia and facial weakness) and one developed transitory hemiparesis 1 week after pallidotomy.

The results presented here confirm the 1960 findings of Svennilson, et al., that parkinsonian tremor, rigidity, and hypokinesia can be effectively abolished by posteroventral pallidotomy, an approach developed in 1956 and 1957 by Lars Leksell. The positive effect of posteroventral pallidotomy is believed to be based on the interruption of some striopallidal or subthalamopallidal pathways, which results in disinhibition of medial pallidal activity necessary for movement control.

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Marwan Hariz, Loránd Eröss, Gun-Marie Hariz, Botond Eröss, Laura Cif, Patric Blomstedt, and Yves Agid

Recently, a series of historical reports portrayed the first women neurosurgeons in various countries. One such woman, a pioneer on many levels, remained unrecognized: Judith Balkányi-Lepintre. She was the first woman neurosurgeon in France, the first woman war neurosurgeon for the French Army, and the first woman pediatric neurosurgeon in France. Born in 1912 to a Hungarian Jewish family, she graduated with honors from medical school in Budapest in 1935, then moved to Paris where she started neurosurgical training in 1937 at L’Hôpital de la Pitié under the mentorship of Clovis Vincent, the founder of French neurosurgery. Shortly after marrying a French colleague in 1940, she had to escape the Geheime Staatspolizei (Gestapo) in Paris and ended up in Algeria, where she joined the French Army of De Gaulle. As a neurosurgeon, she participated in the campaigns of Italy and France between 1943 and 1945. After the war, she returned to work at La Pitié Hospital. In 1947, she defended her doctoral thesis, “Treatment of cranio-cerebral wounds by projectiles and their early complications.” Soon thereafter, she joined Europe’s first dedicated children’s hospital, Hôpital Necker-Enfants Malades in Paris, and contributed to the establishment of pediatric neurosurgery in France. She remained clinically and academically active at Necker until her death in 1982 but was never promoted.

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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.”