This prospective study reports the results of stereotactic limbic leucotomy at a mean of 17 months following surgery. Clinical improvement had occurred in twenty-four (80%) of the patients, fifteen (50%) of them being symptom free or much improved. Fourteen of sixteen patients suffering from obsessional neurosis were improved, as were five of seven with chronic anxiety and the degree of improvement at 17 months was superior to that at 6 weeks. Psychometric scores of anxiety, obsessions and neuroticism were all significantly reduced at 17 months. The mean depression scores were also significantly reduced and this result was superior to that reported in a previous study of ‘free-hand’ operations.
Adverse effects were not a problem following limbic leucotomy. Emotional blunting, disinhibition, post-operative epilepsy and excessive weight gain were not encountered, and intelligence was unaffected by the operation. Limbic leucotomy is a much more limited and precise procedure than older ‘free-hand’ operations which we have studied, but its therapeutic effects are comparable and in obsessional neurosis, superior.
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