From theory to practice: the unconventional contribution of Gottlieb Burckhardt to psychosurgery

Brain Lang. 1993 Nov;45(4):572-87. doi: 10.1006/brln.1993.1061.


Gottlieb Burckhardt, a Swiss psychiatrist who practiced in the late 19th century, was the founder of modern psychosurgery. In 1891 he reported the results of cortical extirpations on six patients who evidently suffered from intractable psychiatric disease; two of these cases are discussed here to illustrate how Burckhardt employed contemporary brain models of language and cognition as the basis for removing specific areas of the cerebral cortex with the intention of ameliorating his patients' disturbed behavior.

Publication types

  • Biography
  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • History, 19th Century
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / surgery
  • Psychiatry / history
  • Psychosurgery / history*
  • Switzerland

Personal name as subject

  • G Burckhardt