Skip to main content

Psychosurgery on sex offenders and sexual “deviants” in West Germany


About 70 men have undergone a stereotaxic hypothalamotomy in West Germany for sexual behaviors. In most cases the nucleus ventromedialis (Cajal) has been unilaterally destroyed. The question of whether this kind of psychosurgery should be legally controlled is being discussed by both scientists and the public in West Germany. The justification for this psychosurgery is taken from a theoretical basis which is at least questionable and which stems from a biologically truncated and therefore limited perspective on human sexuality. An inspection of the published reports shows that the indication for surgery was based on questionable scientific and clinical grounds and practically excludes psychotherapeutic and sociotherapeutic aspects. In the authors' opinion stereotaxic hypothalamotomy can in no way be regarded as an unquestioned, applicable method of therapy. We consider it essential that this surgery be suspended at least as long as the possible therapeutic effectiveness and the possible adverse side effects remain unclear.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  • Dieckmann, G., and Hassler, R. (1975). Unilateral hypothalamotomy in sexual delinquents.Confinia Neurol. 37: 177–186.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dieckmann, G., Hassler, R., Horn, H.-J., Schneider, H., and Schneider-Jonietz, B. (1975). Die Behandlung sexueller Gewalttäter. Sexualmedizin 9: 545–551.

    Google Scholar 

  • Laschet, U. (1975). Wissenschaftlich begründete Stellungnahme zur stereotaktisch-operativen Ausschaltung von Hirnzentren zur regulierenden Beeinflussung des Sexualtriebs (der Sexualitat) beim Mann. Unpublished medical opinion.

  • Müller, D. (1974). Ergebnisse stereotaktischer Eingriffe im Gehirn bei Sexualtriebstörungen. Lecture at the annual meeting of the “Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft der Ärzte und Psychologen in der Straffällingenhilfe,” June 21 (unpublished).

  • Müller, D., Roeder, F., and Orthner, H. (1973). Further results of stereotaxis in the human hypothalamus in sexual deviations: First use of this operation in addiction to drugs.Neurochirurgia 16: 113–136.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Müller, D., Orthner, H., Roeder, F., König, A., Bosse, K., and Kloos, G. (1974). Einfluss von Hypothalamusläsionen auf Sexualverhalten und gonadotrope Funktion beim Menschen. Bericht Ueber 23 Falle. In Dörner, G. (ed.),Endocrinology of Sex Differentiation and Neuroendocrine Regulation in the Hypothalamo-Hypophysial-Gonadal-System J. A. Barth, Leipzig.

    Google Scholar 

  • Orthner, H., Duhm, E., Jovanovic, U. J., König, A., Lohmann, R., Schwidder, W., Wehren, J. V., and Wieser, S. (1969).Zur Therapie sexueller Perversionen Enke, Stuttgart.

    Google Scholar 

  • Roeder, F., and Müller, D. (1969). Zur stereotaktischen Heilung der pädophilen Homosexualität.Deutsch. Med. Wochenschr. 94: 409–415. (The stereotaxic treatment of pedophilic homosexuality.Ger. Med. Month. 14: 265–271.)

    Google Scholar 

  • Roeder, F., Müller, D., and Orthner, H. (1971a). Weitere Erfahrungen mit der stereotaktischen Behandlung sexueller Perversionen.J. Neuro-Visc. Relat. Suppl. 10: 317–324.

    Google Scholar 

  • Roeder, F., Müller, D., and Orthner, H. (1971b). Stereotaxic treatment of psychoses and neuroses. In Umbach, W. (ed.),Special Topics in Stereotaxis Hippokrates, Stuttgart, pp. 82–105.

    Google Scholar 

  • Roeder, F., Orthner, H., and Müller, D. (1972). The stereotaxis treatment of pedophilic homosexuality and other sexual deviations. In Hitchcock, E., Laitinen, L., and Vaernet, K. (eds.),Psychosurgery Thomas, Springfield, Ill.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Rieber, I., Sigusch, V. Psychosurgery on sex offenders and sexual “deviants” in West Germany. Arch Sex Behav 8, 523–527 (1979).

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: