The widespread use of standard leucotomy terminated in the early 1950's with the advent of the phenothiazine group of drugs. But since then, psychosurgical techniques have been considerably refined and the indications for the newer operations are becoming increasingly precise. Knight's (1969) stereotactic tractotomy is probably the most frequently performed contemporary operation for the relief of some psychiatric illnesses, and the number of patients now referred for this treatment have justified the organization of a specific unit for the purpose.
The value of such a special unit, involving close co-operation between neurosurgeon and psychiatrist is emphasized. It provides a supportive environment for patients who are sharing a highly specialized treatment, and offers opportunities for studying outcome after operation with resulting improvement in selection. It also facilitates research possibilities in general. The clinical work of the Geoffrey Knight Psychosurgical Unit, probably in its way unique, is described and questions often encountered from doctors and from patients are considered. The importance of rehabilitation after operation is stressed and some aspects of the longer term post-operative psychiatric care involved are dealt with.
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