Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Leukotomy

  • Ross ZafonteEmail author
  • Brad Kurowski
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_42

Synonyms

Frontal lobotomy; Leucotomy; Prefrontal lobotomy

Definition

Leukotomy refers to a procedure that involves the interruption of nerve tracts to and from the frontal lobe. It was first introduced in the 1930s by a Portuguese neurologist, Egas Moniz. His original surgery attempted to destroy the fiber tracts connecting the frontal lobe with the rest of the brain via the injection of alcohol. In 1936, he outlined the procedure for the standard “leucotomy.” This procedure was further refined by future neurologists and neurosurgeons and used in the treatment of a number of psychiatric disorders. The procedure led to marked cognitive and personality changes and eventually fell out of favor although more innovative psychosurgical procedures are being considered.

Cross-References

References and Readings

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  2. Elithorn, A., & Slater, E. (1956). Prefrontal leucotomy: Views of patients and their relatives. The British Medical Journal, 2(4995), 739–742.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  3. Heller, C., Amar, A., Liu, C., & Apuzzo, M. (2006). Surgery of the mind and mood: A mosaic of issues in time and evolution. Neurosurgery, 59, 720–739.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. Lam, S. J. (1965). Prefrontal leucotomy. British Medical Journal, 1(5442), 1083–1084.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ploumpidis, D., Tsiamis, C., & Poulakou-Rebelakou, E. (2015). History of leucotomies in Greece. History of Psychiatry, 26(1), 80–87.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0957154X14529224.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Schultz, S., & Henderson, A. L. (1959). Follow-up study on 311 cases of prefrontal leucotomy. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 81, 907–909.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s HospitalHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s HospitalHarvard Medical SchoolCincinnatiUSA