Book Definition: The general term for surgical intervention in the brain to treat psychological disorders.


In the Neolithic Period (40,000 years ago), man performed skull surgery to release demons and bad spirits that ancient doctors believed were the causes of mental illness and madness; this was called trepanning. Later, in the Medieval times, doctors would perform skull surgery to release the "stone of madness" that was said to cause mental disorders.
The prefontal lobotomy was devloped by Egas Moniz and were performed up until the 1950s. This entailed severing certain nerve fibers connecting the frontal lobes to other parts of the brain. This practice was discontinued as it had many negative results, including the loss of the patient's basic personality. In more recent times, psychosurgery has been used in "split-brain" patients where a surgeon severs fibers in the corpus callosum which cause seizures.

In Your Own Words

  • Removing part of the brain surgically, the same way Phineas Gage did when that rod shot up through his head.
  • Surgery to alter brains and treat disorders.
  • A method of surgery to treat mental disorders by removing parts of the brain.
  • During surgery, a small peice of brain is destoyed or removed. Also known as neurosurgery for mental disorders.


  • Prefrontal lobotomy-severing certain nerve fibers that connect the frontal lobes with deep brain structures.
  • Prefrontal leucotomy-basically the same as a prefrontal lobotomy except all nerve fibers are severed
  • The book-made-movie "Shutter Island" utilizes psychosurgery, specifically the icepick lobotomy to help the patients cope with their disorders.
  • Psychosurgery has been mainly abandoned due to the extreme negative side effects associated with it, for example the frontol lobotomy which left patients in a mostly catatonic state.
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