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  1. Marlene Oscar-Berman,
  2. Mary M. Valmas

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0751

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Oscar-Berman, M. and Valmas, M. M. 2010. Psychosurgery. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. Boston University School of Medicine and Department of Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, Boston Campus

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Psychosurgery is the surgical removal or destruction of healthy brain tissue for relief of severe, persistent, and debilitating psychiatric symptomatology. Cranial surgery can be traced back, with early archaeological evidence of trepanation, to around 7300–6220 b.c. (Lillie, 1998). However, the first widespread application of psychosurgery procedures to psychiatric patients began in the late 1930s, reached its peak in the 1960s, and began to decline in the 1970s (Weingarten & Cummings, 2001).


  • amygdalotomy;
  • cingulotomy;
  • frontal lobotomy;
  • neuromodulation;
  • tractotomy