Neurosurgery and neuromodulation for mental disorder: Part 1

The first in a two-part series, this module introduces a number of interventions which can be considered for individuals with chronic and treatment-refractory depression and/or obsessive-compulsive disorder when all other options have been tried and failed, and symptoms are persistent and disabling.


Part 1 looks at the history of development of some of these treatments. Patient selection, the operative procedure, and post-operative recovery are covered. This part also outlines the legislative framework in the UK.


The second module in this series, Neurosurgery and neuromodulation for mental disorder: Part 2, covers outcomes from anterior cingulotomy (ACING) and ‘reversible’ neuromodulation strategies, namely vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), and deep brain stimulation (DBS). For each intervention, the evidence supporting their use will be considered.


Start the module 


Please note: This module was last updated in 2012. Please be aware when completing the module that some of the guidance may have changed.


If you are interested in updating this material, please contact us.

If you like this module, you may also be interested in:


Neurosurgery and neuromodulation for mental disorder: Part 2

by Dr David Christmas, Professor Keith Matthews, Professor Douglas Steele and Mr Bob MacVicar


The pharmacological treatment of resistant depression – an overview

by Professor Philip J. Cowen


Physical healthcare in severe mental illness by Dr Steve Brown



BJPsych Advances: related articles for CPD Online



Related Advances articles


Download take-home notes to print and annotateDownload take-home notes to print and annotate


We have adopted the term ‘neurosurgery for mental disorder’ (NMD) to describe a range of neurosurgical interventions for psychiatric illness. When reviewing historical developments, the term ‘psychosurgery’ is used to describe older and usually obsolete procedures.



© 2018 Royal College of Psychiatrists