Psychosurgery refers to a type of surgical intervention aimed at altering or modifying the brain in order to treat mental or psychiatric disorders.

Types of Psychosurgery

There are several types of psychosurgical procedures:

  • Lobotomy: This procedure involves the surgical removal or disconnection of certain brain regions, typically the frontal lobes, to reduce the severity of psychiatric symptoms.
  • Cingulotomy: It involves the destruction or lesioning of the cingulate gyrus, a region involved in emotional processing, to alleviate symptoms of severe depression or obsessive-compulsive disorder.
  • Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS): This procedure involves the implantation of electrodes in specific areas of the brain to deliver electrical impulses, which regulate abnormal brain activity associated with various mental disorders.

Historical Context

Psychosurgery gained popularity in the mid-20th century as a treatment option for severe mental illnesses when other interventions were limited. One of the most infamous psychosurgical procedures was the prefrontal lobotomy, which often had significant negative consequences and ethical concerns.

Contemporary Use and Ethical Considerations

In modern medicine, psychosurgery is a less commonly used treatment option due to the development of safer and more effective medications, psychotherapies, and other non-invasive interventions. It is mostly reserved for extreme cases of treatment-resistant psychiatric disorders where all other options have proven ineffective. Ethical considerations play a crucial role in determining the appropriateness and consent for psychosurgical procedures.


Psychosurgery involves surgical procedures aimed at altering brain function to treat severe mental disorders. Despite its historical significance, it is now considered a last resort treatment option due to advances in alternative therapies and the associated ethical concerns.