The University of Colorado Anschutz (with University of Colorado Hospital) is one of the few centers in the U.S. to offer Deep Brain Stimulation as an option for treatment-refractory obsessive-compulsive disorder. The CU program offers a multi-disciplinary approach through collaboration with the Departments of Psychiatry, Neurology, and Neurosurgery.
Deep Brain Stimulation involves a stereotactic neurosurgical procedure to place electrodes in both sides of the brain in structures known as the Anterior Limb of the Internal Capsule (AIC). The areas that are specifically targeted within the AIC are the Ventral Capsule/Ventral Striatum (VC/VS) and Nucleus Accumbens (NAc). The electrodes are connected to extension wires and pulse generators (similar to pacemakers) in the individual's chest wall. After surgery, the patient works with a psychiatrist with expertise in DBS programming to find the stimulation settings that provide optimal relief of symptoms with minimal side effects.
DBS of the Anterior Limb of the Internal Capsule (AIC) is approved under the U.S. FDA Humanitarian Device Exemption (HDE) for severe to extreme treatment-resistant OCD:
An HDE is a determination that a medical device is safe and has probable benefit. An HDE device is not considered investigational or experimental. HDE products are considered by the FDA to be commercially approved and are eligible for coverage and payment when an Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval exists at the facility performing the procedure.
If you are interested in DBS for OCD and believe you may be a candidate, please have your primary psychiatrist contact our DBS coordinator, Emily Hemendinger, LCSW, MPH, CPH at (303) 724-2277. The first step in the process is a review of your history and records to be sure you meet the basic eligibility criteria.
If you are interested in DBS for severe, treatment-refractory OCD, please have your primary psychiatrist complete this form and fax to 303-724-8859.
Rachel Davis, MD
Psychiatrist/Co-Director, Neuromodulation Program/ DBS Evaluation and Programming for OCD
Emily Hemendinger, LCSW, MPH, CPH
OCD-DBS Patient Coordinator
Steven Ojemann, MD
Neurosurgeon - Psychiatric DBS
Drew Kern, MD
Pamela David Gerecht, PhD
DBS Research Coordinator
Judith Gault, PhD
John Thompson, PhD
Brian Hoyt, PhD
Michael Greher, PhD
An individual, 18 years-old or older may be a candidate for treatment with DBS if he or she meets the following criteria:
Department of Psychiatry OCD Program
Fitzsimons Bldg, Room E2343
13001 E. 17th Place
Aurora, CO 80045
Rachel Davis, MD
Medical Director, OCD Program
Co-Director, Neuromodulation Program
Email: Rachel Davis