What Is A Lobotomy

what is a lobotomy
what is a lobotomy

A lobotomy is a surgical procedure that was developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as a treatment for mental health conditions. It involves disconnecting the frontal lobe from the thalamus, disrupting the communication between these two parts of the brain.

Understanding the Procedure

During a lobotomy, a surgeon would access the brain by drilling holes in the skull or making incisions. Then, they would sever or remove neural connections in the frontal lobe, disrupting its normal functioning.

While some individuals experienced a temporary reduction in symptoms and became calmer, lobotomies often resulted in profound personality changes. These changes ranged from apathy and social disinhibition to a complete loss of motivation and emotional blunting.

The Dark Side of Lobotomies

Although lobotomies were initially hailed as a breakthrough treatment, they had serious health risks and were sometimes used unethically. The procedure was irreversible, and many patients suffered long-term detrimental effects.

Throughout its history, the practice of lobotomy has raised ethical concerns, as it was sometimes used as a means of controlling “difficult” or “unmanageable” individuals, including those with intellectual disabilities or behavior issues. This misuse of lobotomies highlights the need for ethical considerations in medical interventions.

Lobotomy Procedure

Image: A depiction of a lobotomy procedure

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What mental health conditions were lobotomies used to treat?
A: Lobotomies were primarily used to treat severe psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety disorders. However, their effectiveness in actually improving these conditions was questionable.

Q: Are lobotomies still performed today?
A: No, lobotomies are no longer practiced as a treatment for mental health conditions. Advances in medication, therapy, and other non-invasive procedures have rendered lobotomies obsolete.

Q: What are the long-term effects of a lobotomy?
A: Lobotomies often caused severe and permanent changes in personality and cognitive function. Patients experienced emotional blunting, loss of initiative, and difficulties with decision-making and problem-solving.


Lobotomies were once considered a groundbreaking treatment for mental health conditions but have since been abandoned due to their serious risks and limited effectiveness. While they may have temporarily reduced symptoms in some people, the procedure often resulted in significant and permanent changes in personality and cognition.

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