Psychosurgery: the past and present of ablation procedures.

: Surgical intervention to the brain has a long history, but contemporary psychosurgery started in the mid-1930s. The first psychosurgical operation was a prefrontal leucotomy. In this chapter, a history of psychosurgery is described with a special focus on so-called "ablation" procedures such as anterior cingulotomy, anterior capsulotomy, subcaudate tractotomy, and limbic leucotomy. The expectations that psychiatrists linked to the surgical intervention have grown along with the progress of diagnostic neuroimaging procedures used in brain research. In recent years, the introduction of neuromodulation techniques seemed to produce a qualitative progress in modern psychosurgery. However, the controversies about these surgical interventions to the brain among psychiatrists still restrict the indications for psychosurgery to highly selected cases.