International Legal Approaches to Neurosurgery for Psychiatric Disorders

Jennifer A. Chandler, Laura Y. Cabrera, Paresh Doshi, Shirley Fecteau, Joseph J. Fins, Salvador Guinjoan, Clement Hamani, Karen Herrera-Ferrá, C. Michael Honey, Judy Illes, Brian H. Kopell, Nir Lipsman, Patrick J. McDonald, Helen S. Mayberg, Roland Nadler, Bart Nuttin, Albino J. Oliveira-Maia, Cristian Rangel, Raphael Ribeiro, Arleen SallesHemmings Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Neurosurgery for psychiatric disorders (NPD), also sometimes referred to as psychosurgery, is rapidly evolving, with new techniques and indications being investigated actively. Many within the field have suggested that some form of guidelines or regulations are needed to help ensure that a promising field develops safely. Multiple countries have enacted specific laws regulating NPD. This article reviews NPD-specific laws drawn from North and South America, Asia and Europe, in order to identify the typical form and contents of these laws and to set the groundwork for the design of an optimal regulation for the field. Key challenges for this design that are revealed by the review are how to define the scope of the law (what should be regulated), what types of regulations are required (eligibility criteria, approval procedures, data collection, and oversight mechanisms), and how to approach international harmonization given the potential migration of researchers and patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number588458
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jan 2021


  • deep brain stimulation
  • law
  • neuroethics
  • neurosurgery for psychiatric disorders
  • psychosurgery
  • regulation


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