Lobotomy — The Ice Pick Cure
Do you take yourself too seriously? Are you in major need of a sense of humour? A lobotomy may help lighten you up so you can enjoy life, instead of spending the rest of your days as an angry troll!
Would an ice pick driven through the eggshell thin bone above your eye into your brain cure your ‘maladies’, your ‘melancholy’, your ‘madness’? During the middle decades of the 20th century transorbital lobotomy, or ‘ice pick’ lobotomy, a radically invasive form of brain surgery, was used extensively for patients with psychiatric illnesses. It was a rapidly executed procedure, taking perhaps a few tens of minutes in total, requiring no more than a local anaesthetic, conducted for the purposes of ‘psychosurgery’.
Cruising around the country in his “Lobotomobile,” Dr. Walter Freeman coined the visited mental institutions all over the United States performing prefrontal lobotomy and transorbital, aka “icepick,” surgeries on the mentally ill.
The first documented case of psychosurgery was in 1888 by Swiss psychiatrist Gottlieb Burckhardt. He claimed success in 50% of patients (3 of 6) Burckhardt was met with overt criticism from his contemporary medical colleagues. The next attempt at this type of surgery did not occur until the mid 1930s which produced many documented success stories and soon became an accepted surgery procedure in many countries. From the late 1930s to the 1970s approximately 100,000 psychosurgeries / lobotomies were performed world-wide.