Brief History Of The Lobotomy

By | February 7, 2019

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Freeman Performs Lobotomy Dr. Walter Freeman performs a lobotomy using an instrument like an ice pick which he invented for the procedure. Source: (

Psychosurgery, as properly defined, is the treatment of mental disorders by means of brain surgery. Psychosurgery can be loosely defined as the gray area between neurosurgery and psychiatry. It has been known to exist in some form since the Stone Age when evidence of craniotomies emerged dating as far back as 5100 BC. Archaeologists discovered evidence that prehistoric witchdoctors performed brain surgery by drilling or cutting a hole into the skull. It is incredible to think that even that long ago, there was an interest in mental health and the brain itself.

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Lobotomy demonstration. Source: (

In the ‘30s, ‘40s, and ‘50s, modern-day psychosurgery included a procedure called lobotomy.

Lobotomy is a term many have heard in one context or another. A lobotomy is a surgical operation wherein an incision is made into the prefrontal lobe of the brain in an effort to treat mental illness. These days, a lobotomy is typically part of a joke referring to someone being out of their mind. The origin of the lobotomy, however, is no joke! There is a true and almost horrific history that goes along with this form of psychosurgery that seems barbaric yet was practiced in the United States as late as the ‘70s.