A lobotomy, also called leucotomy, is a form of a neurosurgical treatment for a mental disorder that involves severing connections in the brain’s prefrontal cortex.
During the procedure most of the connections to and from the prefrontal cortex, the anterior part of the frontal lobes of the brain, are severed.
Some patients improved in some ways after the operation, but complications and impairments were common.frequent.
The procedure is no longer performed.
The majority of lobotomies were performed on women.
Following the procedure patients were often stuporous, confused, and incontinent.
Weight gain due to increased appetite and seizures were other common complication of surgery.
The purpose of the operation was to reduce the symptoms of mental disorders.
Following the operation, spontaneity, responsiveness, self-awareness, and self-control were reduced, replaced by inertia, and people were left emotionally blunted and restricted in their intellectual range.
Few people managed to return to responsible work, while at the other extreme, people were left with severe and disabling impairments.
Most people fell into an intermediate group: some improvement of their symptoms but also with emotional and intellectual deficits.
There was a mortality rate of approximately 5% during the 1940s.
The procedure could have severe negative effects on a patient’s personality and ability to function independently, with marked reduction in initiative and inhibition, decreased empathy because of decreased cognition and detachment from society.
The procedure has become a disparaged procedure, a barbarism and an exemplary instance of the medical trampling of patients’ rights.
In the United States, approximately 40,000 people were lobotomized.
By the late 1970s, the practice of lobotomy had generally ceased, although it continued as late as the 1980s in France.
In 1949 the Nobel Foundation awarded a prize to Antonio Moniz for developing prefrontal lobotomy, a decision that has been called an astounding error of judgment!