Questions and Answers Deep Brain Stimulation for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

What is Reclaim Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) Therapy for OCD?

Reclaim DBS Therapy uses a surgically placed medical device, similar to a cardiac pacemaker, to deliver electrical pulses to precisely targeted areas of the brain. Electrical stimulation may help to reduce some of the symptoms of OCD.

While DBS may treat some of the symptoms of OCD, it does not cure the underlying condition. If stimulation is discontinued, symptoms will return.

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What are the implanted components of the Reclaim DBS system?

The Reclaim DBS system consists of the following implanted components:

  • Two leads implanted in the brain.
  • Two extensions threaded under the skin from the head, down the neck, and into the upper chest.
  • One or two neurostimulators implanted under the skin below the collarbone and connected to the extensions.

Sometimes called a “brain pacemaker,” the neurostimulator produces the electrical pulses needed for stimulation. These electrical pulses are delivered through the extension and lead to the targeted areas in the brain. The pulses can be adjusted wirelessly to check or change the neurostimulator settings.

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How is the stimulation adjusted?

To adjust stimulation, your clinician will use a programmer that communicates wirelessly with the neurostimulator to non-invasively adjust stimulation to find the level that is right for you.

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What Potential Benefits does Reclaim DBS Offer?

Reclaim DBS therapy is indicated for adults with chronic, severe, treatment-resistant obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) who have failed at least three selective reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), as an alternative to anterior capsulotomy.

Reclaim DBS Therapy for OCD has received a Humanitarian Device Exemption (HDE) from the FDA; this means that the effectiveness of this therapy for OCD has not been demonstrated.

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What are the potential risks of Reclaim DBS?

DBS Therapy requires brain surgery. Risks of brain surgery may include serious complications such as coma, bleeding inside the brain, stroke, seizures and infection. Some of these may be fatal. Once implanted, the system may become infected, parts may wear through your skin, and the lead or lead/extension connector may move. Medtronic DBS Therapy could stop suddenly because of mechanical or electrical problems. Any of these situations may require additional surgery or cause your symptoms to return or worsen. Medtronic DBS Therapy may cause new or worsening neurological or psychiatric symptoms. In patients receiving Medtronic DBS Therapy, depression, suicidal thoughts, and suicide have been reported.

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What is the history of deep brain stimulation (DBS)?

Medtronic started developing deep brain stimulation in 1987 and has been the leader in the field ever since. Your Medtronic DBS will be backed by our decades of research, innovation, and experience.

Medtronic DBS Therapy is currently approved to manage symptoms of Parkinson's disease, essential tremor, dystonia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. (Approved for dystonia and obsessive-compulsive disorder as a humanitarian device.) Since 1997, more than 140,000 people worldwide have received Medtronic DBS Therapy.

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Does Reclaim DBS cure OCD?

There is no cure for OCD at this time. Reclaim DBS Therapy may treat some of the symptoms of OCD, but does not cure the underlying condition. If stimulation is discontinued, symptoms will likely return.

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*Humanitarian Device: Authorized by Federal (U.S.A.) law for use as an adjunct to medications and as an alternative to anterior capsulotomy for treatment of chronic, severe, treatment-resistant obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in adult patients who have failed at least three selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). The effectiveness of this device for this use has not been demonstrated.


Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.