What is a Lobotomy?


A lobotomy is an operation in which an icepick is hammered into the brain. The surgery can take less than 10 minutes. It leaves the patient mute, compliant, and childlike. It does not cause anxiety or pain. Nevertheless, a 12-year-old boy named Howard Dully was forced to undergo the procedure. It was done to stop him from daydreaming.

Freeman’s icepick lobotomy

The icepick lobotomy is a medical procedure in which a blunt instrument, called an icepick, is hammered into the patient’s brain. The icepick disrupts the connections between the prefrontal cortex and other brain parts. It was initially used in treating schizophrenia but gradually fell out of use as an alternative to surgery.

Walter Freeman claimed to have an 85% success rate, but his patients often ended up dead. Long-term outcomes showed that only one-third of patients benefited from the lobotomy, while another third ended significantly worse. In the early 1990s, doctors campaigned to remove Egas Moniz’s Nobel Prize in Medicine from his name. However, the Nobel Foundation’s charter forbids such a move.

Freeman-Watts lobotomy

Despite the success of the Freeman-Watts lobectomy, the procedure is not without controversy. Its failures are well documented. The most famous lobotomy failure occurred in 1941 when Freeman performed a lobotomy on Rosemary Kennedy. After the operation, she was rendered inert. She was eventually placed in an institution. She died in 2005. However, the patient’s family has no evidence that Freeman operated.

A lobotomy is a surgical procedure involving removing a small portion of the frontal lobe. Many times this surgery is performed on severely mentally disabled patients. Unfortunately, only about 150 such operations are performed annually in the United States. Dr. Freeman performed over 3,500 psychosurgical operations and retired from practice in 1986. He believed that the Freeman-Watts lobotomy would reduce the number of psychiatric patients in America and their economic burden.

Freeman’s lobotomy

Freeman’s lobotomy is a surgical procedure that alters the brain of patients with mental illness. The resulting changes in the patient’s behavior ranged from aggressive to childlike. Unfortunately, many patients died due to Freeman’s surgery, which cut the blood vessels in the patient’s brains.

Freeman refined his technique for lobotomies to a fine point. After performing lobotomies on corpses, he performed a successful eye orbit lobotomy. He even developed a non-surgical tool to complete this procedure.

Freeman performed lobotomies on 2,500 patients across the country. His methods were considered a breakthrough, but he also made mistakes. In one case, he worked the leucotome too forcefully, breaking into the patient’s brain. As a result, he accidentally killed a patient.

Freeman’s frontal lobotomy

In 1946, Freeman performed the first transorbital lobotomy at his Washington, D.C. office. The patient was a severely depressed housewife named Sallie Ellen Ionesco. Freeman used an ice pick to make the cuts in the frontal lobe. The procedure was simple and painless. It took less than 10 minutes, and there was no need for an anesthetic.

The procedure was controversial, and the medical establishment derided it, but Freeman continued to practice. Antipsychotic drugs and Freudian psychoanalysis replaced lobotomy by the mid-1950s. Freeman’s zeal for public recognition drove many physicians to criticize his methods. At one point, the American Medical Association attempted to criticize him for advertising his services – an unethical practice for a physician. His critics pointed to the colorful lobotomy displays at AMA conventions and said he targeted the media.