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The work of the Neurotherapeutics Program at Massachusetts General Hospital focuses on modern and emerging therapies including:

  • Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)
  • Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS)
  • Functional neurosurgical procedures

In addition to VNS, psychiatic neurosurgical treatments, offered in conjunction with the Department of Neurosurgery and Department of Neurology at Mass General, include both ablative (lesion) procedures (such as, anterior cingulotomy, limbic leucotomy, and anterior capsulotomy, collectively termed "limbic system surgery [LSS]") and non-ablative methods using deep brain stimulation (DBS).

At this time, the principal indications for these types of device-based treatments include major mood disorders (as indications for ECT, VNS, LSS) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (as an indication for LSS). It should be emphasized that, at this time, DBS remains an experimental treatment for both mood disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Of note, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) represents another emerging experimental device-based treatment for severe resistant psychiatric disorders.

The Somatotherapies Unit provides assessment, treatment and follow-up in the context of ECT and VNS. The Psychiatric Neurosurgical Committee reviews all cases referred for ablative procedures and DBS. Treatment and research with respect to these neurosurgical procedures is carried out in a coordinated fashion with oversight by the Psychiatric Neurotherapeutics Program and the Psychiatric Neurosurgical Committee.