Acta Neurochirurgica

, Volume 125, Issue 1, pp 1-4

First online:

On the history of psychosurgery in Russia

  • B. L. LichtermanAffiliated withChair of Pediatric Neurosurgery, Russian Medical Academy of Postgraduate Training

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The history of psychosurgery in Russia can be divided into 3 periods: The first period starts at the turn of the century under the initiative of Bekhterev. His pupil and one of the fathers of Russian neurosurgery Puusepp performed leucotomy-like cuttings of frontal association fibers in manic-depressive cases and psychic equivalents of epileptics as early as 1906–1910.

The second period includes the time from the late 1930ies till the late 1940ies. The classical leucotomy of Moniz and Lima, with some modifications, was used for treatment of schizophrenia and severe pain. In 1950 psychosurgery was prohibited by the special order of the Minister of Health of the USSR for ideological reasons. The third period starts in the early 1980ies with the acceptance of modern stereotactic techniques for treatment of intractable pain and obsessive-compulsive disorders.


Psychosurgery history Russia