Neurosurgical Treatments of Depression

  • Yasin TemelEmail author
  • Lee Wei Lim
Part of the Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences book series (CTBN, volume 14)


The neurosurgical treatment of treatment-resistant depression (TRD) has entered a new era with more and more patients being treated with deep brain stimulation (DBS) via surgically implanted intracerebral electrodes. Although the mechanisms of action of DBS are still not fully understood, preclinical studies are being conducted to elucidate how the treatment might work. DBS in its present form can be considered as a relatively new neurosurgical treatment for TRD. However, the use of neurosurgery in the management of depression has a much longer history particularly with ablative procedures but also vagal nerve stimulation. Here, we provide a review of the clinical neurosurgical treatments for TRD, with a main emphasis on DBS. In addition, we discuss relevant preclinical data that are revealing new information about DBS mechanisms.


Treatment resistant depression Neurosurgery Ablative surgery Vagal nerve stimulation Deep brain stimulation 



The scientific work of YT and LWL in the field of DBS in depression received support from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO Veni), Dutch Brain Foundation, and the Singapore Lee Kuan Yew Research Fellowship.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Neurosurgery and NeuroscienceMaastricht University Medical CenterMaastrichtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.School of Biological SciencesNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore
  3. 3.Department of NeurosurgeryUniversity Hospital MaastrichtMaastrichtThe Netherlands

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