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n. the surgical operation of interrupting the pathways of white nerve fibres within the brain: it was formerly the most common procedure in psychosurgery. In the original form, prefrontal leucotomy (lobotomy), the operation involved cutting through the nerve fibres connecting the frontal lobe with the thalamus and the association fibres of the frontal lobe. This was often successful in reducing severe emotional tension. However, prefrontal leucotomy had serious side-effects and the procedure has now been abandoned.

Modern procedures use stereotaxy and make selective lesions in smaller areas of the brain. Side-effects are uncommon and the operation is occasionally used for intractable pain, severe depression, obsessional neurosis, and chronic anxiety, where very severe emotional tension has not been relieved by other treatments.

Subjects: Medicine and Health.

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