Psychosurgery, also known as neurosurgery, is a branch of surgery that involves the modification of the brain in order to treat mental illness. It has been used for centuries, with the earliest documented use occurring in the Indian subcontinent in the first century AD. In recent times, psychosurgery has seen a resurgence, with the advent of new technologies and techniques, such as deep-brain stimulation and gamma-knife radiosurgery. While psychosurgery has been used to treat a wide range of mental illnesses, it is most commonly used to treat severe depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and schizophrenia.

Psychosurgery is a controversial treatment due to its potential for irreversible damage to the brain and its high risk of side effects. While it has been shown to be effective in some cases, it should only be used as a last resort after all other treatments have failed. Before undergoing psychosurgery, a patient should be thoroughly evaluated by an experienced neurosurgeon and receive detailed information regarding the risks and benefits of the procedure.

The most commonly used psychosurgery procedures are cingulotomy, capsulotomy, and limbic leucotomy. Cingulotomy involves cutting the cingulum bundle, which is a structure in the brain that controls mood and behavior. Capsulotomy is used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder and involves making a small hole in the brain’s capsule. Limbic leucotomy involves cutting the connections between the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain.

Psychosurgery has been shown to be effective in treating certain mental illnesses, but it is important to note that it is a potentially dangerous procedure with serious risks. It should only be considered as a last resort after all other treatments have failed. Furthermore, it is important for patients to be fully informed of the risks and potential side effects of the procedure before undergoing surgery.


Berrios, G. E. (2003). The history of mental symptoms: Descriptive psychopathology since the nineteenth century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Chen, J. K., & Lipsitz, J. D. (2011). Neurosurgery for psychiatric disorders: A review. Neurosurgical Focus, 30(3), E4.

Grueneich, R., & Nattinger, A. B. (2013). Psychosurgery: Historical background, current techniques, and ethical considerations. Neurosurgical Focus, 34(6), E7.

Lozano, A. M., & Mayberg, H. S. (2014). Deep brain stimulation for psychiatric disorders. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 16(3), 311-321.

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