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October 7, 1968

Long-Term Follow-Up of Selected Lobotomized Private Patients

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis.

JAMA. 1968;206(2):327-332. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03150020043008

Psychosurgery, especially lobotomy, has fallen into unwarranted disrepute in many psychiatric centers. This is a 6- to 18-year follow-up of 27 chronically ill private patients who were lobotomized between 1951 and 1959. All but two lobotomies were unilateral and performed on the nondominant hemisphere. Only five patients remained in hospitals. Eighteen made excellent postoperative adjustments. This study indicates that lobotomy in carefully selected patients is an excellent treatment method. Two thirds of these patients, for whom there was otherwise a poor outlook, returned to normal life.