A METH addict has had holes drilled into his skull and an implant inserted deep into his brain to stop him taking drugs.
The groundbreaking procedure in Shanghai's Ruijin Hospital in China is the world's first clinical trial to treat addicts with "deep brain stimulation".
AP:Associated Press5 Two small holes were drilled into Yan's skull before surgeons fed electrodes into his brain
Scientists fitted a pacemaker-type device inside patient Yan's head to electrically stimulate targeted areas of his brain with the flip of switch.
Yan, the first methamphetamine addict to undergo the experimental treatment, said: "The drill was like bzzzzzzzz."
The thin man, described as having a scabby face and bony knees, added: "The moment of drilling is the most terrible."
Years of drug abuse cost him his wife and $150,000 savings, but now doctors hope that technology will end his addiction.
More than six months after the surgery, Yan said he was off drugs and had put on 20 pounds of weight.
He described the electrodes attached to his brain as "magical", adding: "It controls your happiness, anger, grief and joy."
The deep brain stimulation (DBS) treatment has long been used for movement disorders like Parkinson's and is now being trailed to combat meth and opioid addiction.
It involves drilling two small holes into the skull before surgeons feed electrodes connected to the device into the brain.
Yan said doctors told him the surgery wasn't risky. "But I still get nervous," he said, adding: "It's my first time to go on the operating table."
Yan's surgeon Dr Li Dianyou told him: "You can rest assured for the safety of this operation.
"It is no problem. When it comes to effectiveness, you are not the first one, nor the last one.
"You can take it easy because we have done this a lot."
However, there are risks associated with the procedure and a small chance a patient could have die of a brain haemorrhage, suffer seizures or an infection or be left with personality changes.
LIFE DESTROYED BY METH
Three of Yan's friends introduced him to meth in a hotel room shortly after the birth of his son in 2011.
They told him: "Just do it once you've had your kid, you won't have problems."
After losing his life savings and being divorced by his wife, Yan checked into a hospital for detox, moved to another town to get away from bad influences and even took Chinese traditional medicine.
But he relapsed every time. "My willpower is weak," he said.
Last year his father recommended he tried brain surgery to do away with his addiction once and for all.
STILL 'A LOT OF RISKS'
Dr Sun Bomin, director of Ruijin Hospital's functional neurosurgery department, said: "As doctors we always need to think about the patients.
"They are human beings. You cannot say, 'Oh, we do not have any help, any treatment for you guys."
Some critics believe this surgery should not be allowed, arguing it will not address the complex biological, social and psychological factors that drive addiction.
Scientists don't fully understand how DBS works and there is still debate about where electrodes should be placed to treat addiction.
There is also scepticism in the global scientific community about the general quality and ethical rigour particularly around issues like informed consent of clinical trials done in China.
most read in world newsPOISONED BY BREASTFEEDING Drug addict mum killed 10-week-old baby with toxic breast milk KID KILLER Boy, 9, 'murdered his adopted mum who feared he was a serial killer-in waiting' DAD SLAMMED Vegan dad starved toddler leaving her toothless and weighing under a stone MOTHER FROM HELL Mum killed son, 9, when he gave her headache by talking about school day THE PARTY'S STARTED! Rowdy Brits post outrageous Magaluf snaps as summer hols start early SUBSTATION HORROR DEATH Woman electrocuted & burned alive trying to take the perfect selfie
Adrian Carter, who heads the neuroscience and society group at Monash University in Melbourne, said: "It would be fantastic if there were something where we could flip a switch, but it's probably fanciful at this stage.
"There's a lot of risks that go with promoting that idea."
In China, DBS devices can cost less than $25,000, while in the US it costs £100,000 to implant.
AP:Associated Press5 The patient had exhausted every other option before turning to brain surgery
AP:Associated Press5 A scan of Yan's brain shows the holes drilled deep into his brain
AP:Associated Press5 Yan claims the brain surgery has worked and he no longer feels addicted to meth
AP:Associated Press5 While China is fast becoming a hub for the surgery, it has not received the full support of the international scientific community
Chinese meth dealers Huang Zhengye and Cai Liqun sentenced to death on a sports ground in front of 300 schoolkids before being executed