Lobotomy: The History and Contributions to Modern Day Psychosurgery
Portland Community College
The beginning of the lobotomy can be traced back centuries. From trephination, to the “icepick” lobotomy that is commonly known today. Researchers and physicians have been searching for a cure to mental illness by any means necessary since the origin of medicine. Trepanning—the drilling of burr holes in a patient’s skull—can be traced all the way back to the Stone Age. At the turn of the 20th century, experiments in removing parts of the frontal cortex were performed, in the attempt to remedy schizophrenia. It was more than forty years later that the “leucotomy” was attempted again. This time in Portugal. Soon after, the “leucotomy” came to the United States, but by the new name: “lobotomy”. A decade later the transorbital frontal lobotomy, also referred to as the “ice pick lobotomy”, was introduced. The media hype surrounding the new cure-all procedure was tremendous. However, publicity eventually turned negative and a fear was bread that still resonates. Psychosurgery, now referred to as functional neurosurgery for psychiatric disease, has come a long way—in that, we realize not to utilize it very often. More of a non-invasive approach is now employed.
Keywords: lobotomy; leucotomy; psychosurgery; functional neurosurgery for psychiatric disease
ABSTRACT IS NOT REQUIRED FOR CLASS!Lobotomy: The History and Contributions to Modern Day Psychosurgery
This paper will explore the history of the lobotomy. From its origins, and through its development, and then, its eventual decline in the 19th and 20th centuries. Physicians were desperately searching for a way to help patients with mental disorders. Many people suffered under the scalpels of these early doctors. Results were varied and unreliable. The inflictors did not take care to study the long-term effects of these primitive…