Lobotomy is a psychosurgical procedure involving the destruction of connective nerve fibers in the frontal lobe of the brain. It was intended to treat mental illness, but its effects are unpredictable and wide-ranging. The lobotomy is now regarded as a barbaric episode in psychiatric history.
The procedure was popularized in the United States by Walter Freeman, who also invented the "icepick lobotomy" procedure, which used a leucotome. Between 1936 and the 1950s, he advocated lobotomies throughout the United States. Ultimately between 40,000 and 50,000 patients were lobotomized, with few if any studies done to see if the treatment was effective. Lobotomy gradually became unfashionable after the development of tranquilizers.
Bilateral cingulotomy is a modern psychosurgical technique which has superseded the lobotomy.