According to Encyclopedia Britannica, lobotomy (also called leucotomy) is a neurosurgical operation in which the connection between the prefrontal lobe and the brain is severed. It is said to be one of several surgeries that deliberately damage brain tissue to treat mental illness. Lobotomies have always been controversial and have only been performed in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
It was said that when lobotomies were invented, there was no good way to treat mental illness, and people were quite desperate for some kind of intervention. In the 20th century, lobotomy became one of the most popular treatments for mental illness in the United States. Portuguese neurologist Antonio Egas Moniz performed the first modern leucotomy for the treatment of mental illness, where a hole was drilled into the patient’s skull to gain access to the brain. In 1935 he performed a brain operation in a hospital in Lisbon, called leucotomy.
The lobotomy of the frontal lobe is an operative procedure used to alleviate the symptoms of mental illness. Portuguese neurosurgeon Almeida Lima performed the first human lobotomy, in which brain tissue was destroyed by alcohol injections. The idea that psychosurgery could improve mental health was conceived by the Swiss neurologist Gottlieb Burckhardt.
After listening to a lecture by American neurologist John Fulton earlier this year, Burckhardt and his Nobel Prize-winning colleagues proposed the procedure as a treatment for mental illness. Fulton described how chimpanzees could become much calmer by destroying the part of the brain that deals with emotions, the amygdala.
Lobotomies are performed by inserting a long, thin instrument into the back of the patient’s eyeball, puncturing the thin orbital plate above the eye and rotating the instrument in such a way that it destroys the connection between the frontal lobe of the brain. A lobotomy is also referred to in the medical literature as “severed surgery,” using the term “sudden brain injury” or “practice time.” In the practice phase, patients with lobotomy were drilled two holes in the temple with their skull, long instruments called leucotomes were inserted and the connections to the prefrontal cortex and frontal lobe were severed.
Portuguese neurologist Antonia Moniz performed the first lobotomy by pouring alcohol into the frontal cortex, severing nerves and drilling a hole in the skull to core part of the brain with a hollow needle. The procedure, called leucotomy, was designed to cure the patient who was not believed to be of help. Today we know that the method is barbaric and the fact that she was not a doctor should make everyone shudder. The first instance of the procedure was in 1935 and described by a psychiatrist as “inserting a brain needle and stirring it to work.” The operation was controversial, and medics saw it as a means of treating mental illness rather than a cure for the patient.
Portuguese neurologist Egas Moniz said the patients suffered from a “fixed circuit” in the brain. He found that cutting off the nerves running from the frontal cortex to the thalamus in psychotic patients with repetitive thoughts temporarily bypasses the problem. Together with colleagues in Almeida and Lima, he developed a technique in which two small holes were drilled on both sides of the forehead, a special surgical knife was inserted, and the prefrontal cortex was severed and rewired with the rest of his brain.
American neurosurgeons have strongly criticized and opposed the use of lobotomies in the United States. Moniz advises extreme caution when performing lobotomy, saying it should only be used in cases where everything else has been tried. In the US, however, it is used in a limited number of patients, mainly for psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. After Freeman managed to promote the success of the operation in the media, lobotomies were touted as a miracle procedure that caught the public’s attention and led to overwhelming demand for the operation.
In lobotomy, developed in 1935, the frontal lobe of the right eye socket, the most important part of a person’s frontal lobe, was cut off. Freeman streamlined the procedure by replacing it with a pimple-like instrument that was forced to pierce the thin bone that separates the eye sockets from the frontal lobes. The pick point was then inserted into the prefrontal lobes and used to cut the brain’s connection between the left and right sides and its connection to the spinal cord.
Although it is rare today, there are situations in which other forms of psychosurgery are still performed today. Although the treatment was severe, it was widely considered more effective than other treatments such as electroconvulsive therapy and shock therapy. Lobotomy was a new treatment for neurological disorders that included electroconvulsive seizures, shock therapy, and even brain surgery.