"You ever heard of a transorbital lobotomy? They sap the patient with electric shock, then go through the eye with an ice pick, pull out some nerve fibres. Makes the patients much more obedient. Tractable. It's barbaric. Unconscionable.""Welcome to Bedlam House. Before we get started, I'll plunge this icepick into your eye socket. Mwahaha." One moment you'll see a character, chirpy, energetic, and arguing with the nurses. The next day, they're quiet and compliant, drooling, emotionless — in short, Empty Shells. What took place? A Lobotomy. A lobotomy is a (thankfully, now rare) medical operation that cuts into part of a person's brain in order to treat mental illness. Lobotomies and similar drastic brain alterations are still used as last-ditch treatment for intractable epilepsy, but that's about it. In Real Life, there was little evidence that it did anything therapeutic. The most often performed procedure rarely helped; it simply destroyed random brain matter. This trope includes all instances of messing with human brains and removing brain matter and it refers to any sort of brain-tampering effect that diminishes intellect or willpower. Once seen as a perfectly humane thing to do, now treated in fiction as the standard example of medical science Gone Horribly Wrong. Lobotomies in fiction are almost never presented as an actual therapy, but rather as a threat held over people or a means of rendering an inconvenient subject compliant and unable to threaten the one who performs it. Very rarely does it appear as a genuine attempt to treat the patient. Electro-convulsive therapy, or electroshock therapy in the more common parlance, has a similarly bad reputation in fiction, though less deservedly. ECT is often portrayed as Electric Torture, although nowadays, in democratic countries, it is administered under anesthesia. It is still used, and frequently works, in cases of severe depression which has not been alleviated by milder treatments. Contrast with Laser-Guided Amnesia which is a relatively mild thing in fictionland you can do to inconvenient witnesses. See also Brainwashed, Brainwashed and Crazy, Death of Personality and Mind Rape. Mad Scientists and Deadly Doctors are likely to perform it, and the Psycho Psychologist is another deadly figure who may suggest this procedure. Realizing that a character underwent a Lobotomy might very often come off as a Spoiler Trope. Beware!
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- In one comic, Lobo had his brain transplanted into a Robocop expy. Once he got back to his real body, he repaid the people who used him by returning the favor...with a rusty butter knife.
- Braniac cuts Aquaman's brain in Justice. Don't worry, he gets better.
"What is that saying you humans have? Oh yes...'I'm just trying to get inside your head.'"
- Justice Lord Superman would "lobotomise" villains as his standard way of solving problems, using his x-ray and heat vision for instant effect.
- The real Superman pretended to use this method once, when an amoral Anti-Hero pushed him too far.
- It happened in the backstory for General Zod's henchman, Non. He was once a brilliant scientist and friend of Superman's father, Jor-El. However, when he tried to help Jor-El to warn the people of Krypton about their impending destruction, the ruling council had him lobotomized to silence him, leaving him a mindless brute.
- Used by the Communist Superman to control dissidents in Superman: Red Son.
- Judge Dredd: Happens frequently in the 2000AD/Judge Dredd comics.
- In the Apocalypse War arc, the captive Chief Judge was given brain surgery that removed any desire to resist interrogation.
- Mean Machine Angel was lobotomized, only it didn't help.
- In Mega City One, racking up ten misdemeanour convictions gets you a mandatory lobotomy.
- Dredd himself was given brain surgery to remove his sense of guilt over the tragic fate of an innocent young girl.
- Carnage gets stabbed in the eye by Kaine, leaving him comatose. That just makes him even more dangerous, since the symbiote is able to run amuck with his body.
- Issue 5 of Back to the Future reveals that, during the events of Back to the Future Part II, Doc visits the asylum where his 1985-A counterpart had been incarcerated. Alt!Doc had been lobotomized, leaving his mind completely destroyed.
- Calvin and Hobbes:
Hobbes: Ugh! No anesthetic even.
- When Calvin is making a jack-o'lantern, he plays that he's giving the pumpkin a lobotomy.
- When Susie tells Calvin she enjoys going to school to learn, Calvin looks thoughtfully at her before declaring: "Your bangs do a good job of covering up the lobotomy stitches."
- After Hobbes cuts Calvin's hair and messes up, he tries to cover it up by tying a cloth around his head. While Hobbes thinks he looks like Lawrence of Arabia, Calvin thinks he looks more like a Lobotomy Patient.
- When Calvin and Susie are playing doctor and patient, Susie says that her foot hurts. Calvin responds that it's psychosomatic, and she needs a lobotomy, prompting Susie to tell him that this isn't what a real doctor would say.
Film — Animation
- In the movie Superman vs. the Elite, Superman uses a combination of his x-ray, microscopic and heat vision powers to depower Manchester Black by cutting out the part of his brain that controls his powers. It's implied not to be permanent though, and Black's personality seems unchanged.
Superman: Heat vision. Focused through your pupil like a scalpel. Instant lobotomy.
Film — Live Action
- Planet of the Apes (1968): The original movie with Charlton Heston has one of the human crew-members lobotomized by the apes. It turned him into a walking zombie.
- In Sucker Punch, Babydoll is sent to a corrupt asylum and is scheduled to be lobotomized, which is what motivates her to make an escape plan. At the end she gives up her chance at freedom to let another girl escape, and ends up getting lobotomized.
- In Grave Encounters, the doctor at the Abandoned Hospital was known for unethical practices, especially lobotomies. He eventually gives one to the only surviving main character at the end of the movie.
- The practice of frontal lobotomy is discussed by the workers in Session 9, in what turns out to be Chekhov's Lecture.
- In One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Protagonist Randall Mc Murphy suffers a lobotomy by Nurse Ratched as after trying to strangle her.
- Shutter Island: During the course of US Marshall Teddy Daniels' investigation into the titular mental institution, the procedure is mentioned as one method used to "cure" violent inmates that have proven otherwise unable to be helped. After a few Plot Twists and meetings with Andrew Laeddis and Rachael it is held as a threat against Daniels in his attempts to escape the island. Finally, after The Reveal, The whole plot is revealed as an elaborate set-up to give Daniels, who is actually Laeddis committed to the asylum after killing his wife because she murdered their children in her own insanity, once last chance to cure himself. He experiences My God, What Have I Done? and chooses to maintain the fantasy, knowing that it will mean death or worse, and undergo the procedure.
- In the movie Repo Man, one lunatic character laments on how great he felt after getting a lobotomy himself. Of course, he also talks about how radiation is harmless.
- The movie From Hell shows the man also known as Jack the Ripper demonstrating how to perform a lobotomy to a group of medical students.
- Muppets from Space: It nearly happens to Gonzo. The man attempting to perform the lobotomy is a classic Mad Scientist.
- In Total Recall (1990), Quaid is told by one of his co-workers it is what nearly happened to a friend of his when he went to Rekall. Later in the movie, Quaid is told that he is hallucinating the adventure in his brain and that if he doesn't exit it, he will be lobotomised. It's left ambiguous as to whether the man who told Quaid was lying or whether Quaid was indeed lobotomised. note
- The Lobotomist (PBS film) traces the career of Walter Freeman from 'savior' of mentally ill people to being seen as a perpetrator of a brutal mistake.
- Actress Frances Farmer gets lobotomized in the biopic Frances, although it's generally agreed that this never happened to the real Frances Farmer.
- A man who managed to escape the Cube in Cube Zero (the prequel movie to Cube) was recaptured by the people running the Cube project and given a lobotomy, and put back in the Cube.
- In the movie Brain Dead (1990) (not to be confused with Braindead from 1992), a neurosurgeon is hired by a corporation to perform highly unethical brain surgery on an ex-employee. In the end it's suggested that the movie is the fragmented memories of the neurosurgeon himself who has been reduced to a dissected brain kept alive in a lab.
- At the end of The Shadow, film and novelization, the villain is lobotomized in such a way that all he has lost is his psychic powers.
- In Clonus, lobotomy is one way to control unruly residents (who are clones for rich adults living elsewhere in the world, made to be a backup supply if they need an organ transplant).
- In Re-Animator, Dr. Hill is a specialist in this procedure. After he's decapitated and reanimated himself, he uses the technique on reanimated corpses to render them obedient to his commands, not just randomly destructive.
- In Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning, Dr. Su attempts performing lobotomy on John to erase his memories. He fails when he breaks free after having yet another vision of his fake family.
- Word of God says this is what happened to Lobot in The Empire Strikes Back. He was originally a talkative character, but was later altered. His name was ultimately even a play on the word "lobotomy".
- In π, Max Cohen gives himself a lobotomy via a power drill to the skull to stop the mathematical visions from tormenting him anymore. This is a contender for the movie's Signature Scene, and probably all there is to know about π.
- Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan introduces a biological variant in the form of brain parasites that Khan uses to make his victims complacent during an interrogation.
- The villains in The Loved Ones perform makeshift lobotomies on their victims by drilling holes in their heads and pouring boiling water inside.
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest:
- The patient who was an angry lunatic before undergoes the procedure, and he becomes an empty shell after his lobotomy. His eyes are described as being like burnt-out lightbulbs.
- After McMurphy attacks Ratched, he is lobotomized and left in a vegetative state. Bromden mercy kills him.
- John D. McDonald's Travis McGee novel Nightmare in Pink. McGee is falsely committed to a corrupt mental hospital where the villains plan to lobotomize him to eliminate him as a threat.
- A rather distressingly detailed scene in the first book of Mercedes Lackey's Obsidian Trilogy has a wizard perform a magically-generated version of lobotomy on a young girl, because it's against the law for a woman to use magic.
- In Hannibal, it is a side effect of cutting open Krendler's head and serving him his own brain to eat.
- At the end of The Etched City, Raule lobotomizes the head of a crime syndicate.
- In Sylvia Plath's 1963 novel The Bell Jar, Valerie gets one of these. Valerie is a friend of Esther’s in the private mental hospital. She is friendly and relaxed.
- From the New World: The queerats perform a botched lobotomy on the Robber Fly queen, and presumably the queens of the colonies that allied with the Robber Flies. Squealer claimed they did it because the queen was suffering from mental illness, as well as because they felt their rights as sentient beings weren't being respected, but mainly to organize a coup. This procedure changes the queerat queens from occasionally violent, tyrannical despots to mindless baby-factories which are treated as livestock. Regardless of rationale, Saki and Satoru are reasonably freaked-out by this revelation.
- Memoir My Lobotomy by Howard Dully: The author is a troubled youth as a 12-year-old boy in 1960, in and out of trouble at school and home. When his stepmother looks for a solution, Dr. Freeman, one of the popularizers of the technique, suggests a lobotomy, and it occurs. The book discusses how many patients were killed or injured by the technique and implies that the author would have been diagnosed with ADD.
- There is a book series by Nancy Holder called Possessions about a girls' boarding school haunted by victims of an insane asylum where lobotomies were practised.
- In Norbert Wiener's short story "The Brain", a gangster costs a doctor his family with his driving (they do not die... not immediately). Some time later, the gangster's mooks summon the doctor to perform urgent surgery on the gangster, who got hit in the head (allegedly in a car crash). During the next robbery, the gangster and all his gang are killed due to a complete lack of planning.
- His Dark Materials: The General Oblation Board develops a procedure called intercision, which severs a person from their dæmon/soul and has a similar effect on the person as being lobotomized.
- Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze: In early stories, criminals captured by Doc received "a delicate brain operation" to cure their criminal tendencies. The criminals returned to society fully productive and unaware of their criminal past.
- The novel Geek Love by Katherine Dunn features a pair of Conjoined Twins, Iphy and Elly. Eventually their brother Arty has Elly lobotomized.
- In Alan Garner's Boneland, Colin is threatened with electro-convulsive therapy and "sectioning", ie this being done to him without his consent, is also mentioned. Indeed, the enigmatic eight opening lines of the novel describe somebody being anaesthetised prior to an operation. He is later seen apparently walking up in hospital and offered a drink, with a nurse wiping excess from his beard.
- Star Wars Legends expands on Lobot's history, saying he was a slaver who was sentenced to involuntary service in Cloud City. The cybernetic device fitted to his head had the side effect of deteriorating his brain's speech centers.
- In the Jedi Prince book series, Trioculous intends to do this to Triclops, Palpatine's son or clone (it's unclear), whom he was impersonating. But he isn't able to actually do it.
- Another book, Children of the Jedi, has Leia recalling the imperials threatening to lobotomize her and send her to one of the Empire's pleasure houses.
- L. Ron Hubbard works:
- Mission Earth: Dr. Crobe performs assembly-line icepick lobotomies.
- The Masters of Sleep: In one scene, the chief protagonist is slated for a lobotomy. The procedure is described. Later, the doctor who was to preform the lobotomy, is wheeled away to receive a lobotomy himself.
- The Prisoner:
- Used for mind games. Number 6 is made to believe he's been lobotomized in the episode "A Change of Mind".
- In "Dance of the Dead", Number 6's former colleague Dutton ends up lobotomized for real.
- In The X-Files episode "Unruhe", Jerry Schmauz was a serial lobotomist. He believed he was helping his victims who were troubled women. He claimed he saw their inner demons — and indeed, they were captured by photography.
- Barney Miller:
- There was a recurring character who had had a lobotomy.
- "The Desk" was an episode involving a lobotomized criminal and an Amish mugging victim.
- Arnold Ripner threatens to sue a lobotomist free of charge should he try to operate again on a patient who was rendered mentally incompetent by his amygdalectomy.
- River in Firefly had parts of her brain removed, removing her ability to suppress her emotions. She was a genius child and abused by the controlling Alliance, who experimented on children like her. The programme was a bit shady and it was not clear why they did it. In Serenity, it was revealed they wanted to turn them into Super Soldiers.
- An episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent had the villain drilling a hole in random women's heads and pouring in boiling water. Most of them die. Interestingly while most of the team consider him a horrific monster, he's shown as more pathetic than scary or evil. Goren tries very hard to get him life in prison rather than the death penalty. It doesn't end well.
- President Cyclops, in the TV version of Whoops Apocalypse, declares: "If anyone tries to lobotomize me, they'll get a piece of my mind." This doesn't prevent the Soviets planting a lie detector in his brain.
- Fringe: Walter Bishop tries to self-lobotomize because he believes his visions of Peter mean that he's losing his mind.
- Rosemary Kennedy was a sad case of Truth in Television. It was used in The Kennedys miniseries, in which Joe Sr. has a stroke later, which is seen by his wife as God's revenge for what Joe did to their daughter.
- Dr Arden from American Horror Story: Asylum gives a lobotomy to a patient who recognized him as a Nazi war criminal.
- Monday Mornings has a rare positive portrayal from a 2013 Medical Drama, but treated extremely seriously. Dr. Ridgeway, a brilliant neurosurgeon, sees no other way than a radical treatment for one of her patients — removing several brain cells. It's risky and her colleagues point out both to Ridgeway and the patient's family that it's still brain matter removal, albeit delicate and precise. They actually use the word "lobotomy", and it gets mentioned than one patient who underwent similar procedure in Europe turned into a violent criminal.
- Occurs in the infamously So Bad, It's Good Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Spock's Brain", in which aliens, to put it simply, steal Spock's brain, and the episode revolves around the Enterprise crew getting it back and reattaching it.
- The Space: Above and Beyond episode "Stay with the Dead", Nathan is threatened with a Sci-Fi version of a lobotomy (stated to be electroshock therapy but depicted as some form of neurosurgery) because he insists his squadron mates are alive when everyone else has written them off. They are, and he manages to convince his CO before doctors carry out the procedure.
- Sylar tampered with brains of many people in Heroes. Charlie Andrews, sort of Bridget Bailey, Brian Davies, Sue Landers, Joe Macon, Dale Smither, Ted Spague, Tom Miller, Jesse Murphy, Candice Willmer, Zane Taylor, James Walker, Trevor Zaitlan, Bob Bishop, Isaac Mendez, possibly David, and a random man and woman that work at The Company. Plus, with every person he kills, he gains a power. What's really evil is that he doesn't actually need to kill his victims to take their power. He just likes doing it. Justified as he didn't realise he could take it without killing for almost all of his victims. By the end, he has at least sixteen powers taken from the dead.
- This is standard procedure for taming an Ood on Doctor Who. It's nowhere near as messy as a real lobotomy, though. The procedure removes a part of the brain that's outside the body, meaning all the surgeon does is cut the cord that attaches the external brain to the internal brain. Since the external brain contains an Ood's memory, emotions, and individuality, removing it turns the Ood into a docile, mindless slave. To make the Ood even more docile, the slavers also created a force field to cut off the Ood's mental access to the gigantic disembodied brain that would otherwise link them together in a psychic network.
- In Murdoch Mysteries, episode "Murdoch of the Living Dead", a psychiatrist Dr. Luther Bates is revealed to have been performing lobotomies through nose. He was experimenting with criminals and tampering with their brain. He believed he would help society to deal with violence and crime, but he showed to public only people who turned docile. Some of his victims ended up Brainwashed and Crazy and extremely violent.
- Mad Men: Pete Campbell's brief flame, Beth, was subjected to several lobotomies by her philandering asshole husband due to her habit of getting really depressed and running to the first guy that gave her positive attention. Pete comes in to see her after the procedure and though she welcomes him, she doesn't remember a thing about him.
- In Orange Is the New Black, episode "Doctor Psycho", flashbacks revealed that Counselor Healy's mother was involuntarily subjected to numerous lobotomies attempting to cure her hallucinations. The surgeries do little to stop the hallucinations, but they do leave her feeling as if a part of her is missing. By the end, she's revealed to be in and out of homeless shelters and mental institutions, unable to remember her real name, and presumably most of her past.
- Song "I'd Rather Have a Bottle in front of Me (than a Frontal Lobotomy)", referred to as a Dr. Demento classic. It's all in the title, but to recap: would you rather solve your problems with alcohol, Drowning Your Sorrows, or would you choose frontal lobotomy?
- The song "I'd Rather Have a Bottle in Front of Me than Have to Have a Frontal Lobotomy" is referenced in Tom "T-Bone" Stankus' song, "Existential Blues".
- Discussed in the "Weird Al" Yankovic song "I Can't Watch This".
HBO and Playboy, Showtime and MTVI might like them more after my lobotomy
- Oingo Boingo's song "Perfect System" mentions the operation and tampering with one's brain.
"I had an operation. With no adverse reaction. They tampered with my brain some. It helped me see the reason. For living in the system."
- Emilie Autumn's song "Miss Lucy Had Some Leeches"
''Before the night is overBefore you go to bedThey'll take a hammer and a nail and jam it in yourHeadstones in the courtyard..."
- The Ramones have a song called "Teenage Lobotomy" from Rocket To Russia, which is actually about abusing the insecticide DDT as a drug. You get the brain damage without the docility, it seems.
- Purgatory (later renamed Iced Earth) had a song called "Lobotomy" on their first demo Burning Oasis, as well as on live bootlegs. The demo has yet to be shared online by anyone, unfortunately.
- Wallace Bishop of Dino Attack RPG is an unusual example, considering that he actually performed a lobotomy on himself after escaping Napoleon XIV Mental Institution, rather than letting one of the doctors in the institution perform the lobotomy on him. Being a former scientist, he knew exactly how to do the procedure. His goal was to remove the areas of his brain containing the memories of his family, which were making it much harder for him to cope with being institutionalized. He succeeded to such a degree that another scientist, Frank Einstein, was even able to extract the memories from the removed pieces of brain, but in doing so he left himself little more than a shadow of a man.
- Players of Magic: The Gathering can use Lobotomy and other invasive surgery .
- Warhammer40000: The most prominent example of this trope are servitors, lobotomised cyborg slaves. World Eaters (an entire army of Berserkers) have lobotomies so as to ensure they no longer feel fear. Unfortunately, those with the skill to perform this operation are increasingly rare, so a great many of them fail. Then again, given what most Chaos units, especially Khornate, ESPECIALLY World Eaters are like...
- Paranoia supplement Acute Paranoia, section "Sanity Tests". When a Troubleshooter fails a Sanity Test ordered by The Computer, the game master rolls on the Handy-Dandy Sanity Tests Results Table. One of the entries in the table is "Corrective Surgery". Blue-level officers from HPD & Mind Control take the unlucky clone away and remove parts of his brain. When he returns he will have a large bandage on his head, will have lost all of his skills and have had most of his attributes halved. This being Paranoia, the player may decide to try to get that character killed quickly and bring in the clone replacement. However, since the game rules actively encourage the GM to cheat to reward players who are being entertaining and a character who is trying to get killed can be pretty darn entertaining, that character may be around for a long, long time (at least by Paranoia standards).
- New World of Darkness sourcebook Asylum is based around psychiatric care in the setting, with a sample hospital, Bishopsgate, that has operated since the 1800s. This, of course, means that it existed when lobotomies were in vogue, and so they're discussed. One head of staff in particular, Dr. Jeremiah Moorcock, was quite fond of performing them. He was removed from the hospital after an unknown assailant gave him a transorbital lobotomy.
- Dungeons & Dragons has the psionic power Decerebrate. From the SRD, "you selectively remove a portion of the subject’s brain stem."
- Bioshock Infinite:
- If Slate's life is spared he will be found later on in the game, the apparent victim of a lobotomy or some similar "procedure" by Comstock's forces that has left him an Empty Shell to keep him from continuing to spread dissent and treasonous information about Comstock, that happens to be both true and false From a Certain Point of View. If you put him out of his misery, then Elizabeth will comment on it, saying, "I guess that's what he wanted."
- In "Burial at Sea", Atlas nearly gives Elizabeth one while torturing her for information. He even sticks the needle in and taps it a few times with a hammer. And you get to experience it all in first person! Elizabeth simply laughs it off though, saying that he'll be doing her a favor, by making her no longer care about all she's been through. He then threatens to do it to the Little Sister Elizabeth had been trying to save the whole time. She quickly gives in.
- There's a doctor in Psychonauts who removes entire brains. His name? Doctor Loboto. He's (actually a dentist) and removes brains whole, so they can be used to pilot psychic tanks. They're removed through an extreme form of Pepper Sneeze, and are just as easily replaced.
- In American McGee's Alice, there are nightmarish children wandering around some levels. Many of them have their skulls cut open, with brains exposed.
- In Mystery Case Files: Escape From Ravenhearst, the Master Detective must perform a simulated lobotomy on an animatronic "mental patient" so she can beat him in a card game.
- Dragon Age:
- Not physical lobotomy but, in the first installment, mages can be made Tranquil; they are cut off from the Spirit World Fade and therefore lose any ability to become a tasty demon-snack but also lose all emotions and willpower. Public use of the Rite of Tranquility was meant to be as an alternative to killing a mage who cannot or will not control their powers, tantamount to execution. However, as centuries went by, it ended up being used as Disproportionate Retribution for petty offenses, and some things that weren't even offenses but were trumped up to be. The operation is believed to be irreversible, but in Asunder, a Tranquil mage under the Divine's orders successfully researches a "cure" (which consists of tricking a demon or spirit into "touching" the Tranquil's mind from the Fade) — and is utterly overwhelmed by his newfound emotions, turning into a Nervous Wreck overnight.
- In Dragon Age II when Anders, an Abomination with the Spirit of Justice/Vengeance inside him, meets an old friend named Karl who was recently made Tranquil. The sight of his now Tranquil friend infuriates Anders so much that Justice temporarily manifests itself. The presence of the spirit temporarily restores Karl's emotions. Karl begs Anders to kill him since he doesn't want to go back to his dreary emotionless state. Later in the game, it's revealed that the same man who did this to Karl has been doing it to young women in the Kirkwall Circle to render them incapable of resisting him—and another rapist threatens his victim with Tranquility to keep him from speaking out. Judging from some of Cole's revelations in Inquisition, they're not the only ones.
- It's mentioned in Dragon Age: Inquisition that blood magic can be used to alter people's personalities, but it is extremely likely to backfire and lobotomize the subject instead. Dorian Pavus' father was going to try this on him to turn him straight, which is why Dorian ran away from home.
- Lobotomites are common enemies in the Fallout: New Vegas add-on, Old World Blues, who have had their brains removed and replaced with imperfect Tesla coils that are meant to receive the signal from their disembodied brains but don't quite work. This fate befalls the Player Character as well, but the process is perfected on them so they stay sane. You can even opt to leave your brain, heart and spine behind and use cybernetic implants instead.
- Implied by MODOK in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 when he wins a Mirror Match:
One of his winquotes: Never again will I forget to lobotomize one of my clones!
- Five Nights at Freddy's:
- The infamous Bite of 87 from the first game. During a birthday party, one of the animatronics malfunctioned and took a chunk out of one of the people at the restaurant. Other than that, the details of it are unclear.
Phone Guy: I-It's amazing that the human body can live without the frontal lobe, you know?
- The example from the first installment is explained in Five Nights at Freddy's 4. The kid you play as got their head stuffed into the mouth of the Fredbear animatronic by their Big Brother Bully. It was meant to be a prank, but then Fredbear accidentally bit down...
- The infamous Bite of 87 from the first game. During a birthday party, one of the animatronics malfunctioned and took a chunk out of one of the people at the restaurant. Other than that, the details of it are unclear.
- BlazBlue has a lot of examples of messing with people's brains to various ends. The prize goes to Kokonoe in her Chronophantasma arcade mode. Terumi runs on other people's hatred, so Kokonoe performs self brain surgery to cut out the part of her brain that governs it. This severely weakened Terumi and she utterly destroyed him when they met face to face.
- In Dead Space 2, at one point kind of late in the game, you have to guide a needle into Isaac's pupil.
- The non-lethal method of eliminating Kirin Jindosh in Dishonored 2 is to lobotomize him with his own electroshock chair.
- Dr. Irie, from Higurashi: When They Cry studies practices of this subject. Portrayed somewhat sympathetically, as he really is helping people. The people who pay him are much more shady, though.
- Not actually carried out, but in Hatoful Boyfriend Holiday Star, when Hiyoko sees Shuu acting rather out of character she asks if he's gone and had that lobotomy.
- Questionable Content: On Faye's first visit to her therapist, the therapist jokingly suggests lobotomy.
- Lobotomies scored number 6 in Cracked article "The 10 Most Insane Medical Practices in History". Lobotomies were a popular medical technique for the first half of the 20th century and miraculous "cure" for nearly any mental issue from serious conditions like schizophrenia to mild anxieties or teenage angst. Read it here.
- Mephisto the Magician references a Doc Savage expy in the Whateley Universe whose "delicate medical surgery" turns out to be a pre-frontal lobotomy, reducing brilliant criminal minds to mental children unable to feed themselves. Mephisto is less than amused.
- In the Das Sporking recap of Fifty Shades of Grey, the sporkers speculate that Leila may have had a lobotomy, owing to the stunted and lethargic way she behaves.
- In Das Mervin's readthrough of the Twilight Illustrated Guide, she notes that it would have made more sense to have that Alice got a lobotomy during her involuntary stay at an insane asylum. (She withdrew that suggestion after the listeners pointed out that the time period wasn't when lobotomies were popular as medical treatment.)
- In Cassette #5 of Within the Wires, The Narrator reveals that the rare intractably violent patient will undergo "carpentry" in the Extensive Studies Lab, by way of warning her listener to maintain the appearance of compliance while an inpatient at a sinister research hospital.
- In Mortal Kombat Legacy, the doctors at the asylum Raiden lands in attempt performing lobotomy on him, but being a god, he recovers from it.
- In Noob: La Quête Légendaire, Elyx's player turns out to have gotten lobotomy at some point, causing complete amnesia of her previous life. This is relevant to the story as she's the Missing Mom of one out of three paternal half-siblings, two of which are regular characters. Unfortunately, their Forgetful Jones father forgot which one it was.
- The Simpsons: In one Halloween episode, Ned Flanders is global overlord and deals with any rebels by having a part of their brain removed. Lobotomized Moe shows Homer "you get to keep the little piece they cut out", and lobotomized Marge just tells Homer that "it's bliisss...".
- Justice League brings up lobotomy procedures in "A Better World", when Justice Lord Superman manages to lobotomize Doomsday using only his heat vision. When the others decide to check out a mental hospital in the Justice Lords universe, it's revealed that he has done it to many other villains like The Joker, Poison Ivy and the Mr. Scarface. It's how we know he's not a good guy. When Doomsday recovers and hunts down our Superman, Supes tries it again as an act of desperation, only for Doomsday to reveal he developed an immunity since his last fight.
- On an episode of Tiny Toon Adventures, Elmyra heavily hinted to Montana Max that she wanted him to take her to an upcoming dance. Monty responded that he'd rather have a lobotomy.
- The Godzilla Power Hour has Godzilla subduing a monster known as the "Gravity Goliath" in this manner. Followed by Godzilla throwing him all the way back to the moon, from the bottom of the ocean!
- Rosemary Kennedy, sister of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, was subjected to lobotomy at the age of 23 in 1941. This has been used as the basis for Conspiracy Theories.
- Tennessee Williams' sister Rose is a famous real life case. It went badly, obviously upset Williams very deeply, and it influenced a lot of his writing. The Glass Menagerie is entirely based on the incident and the characters on his family.
- Jeffrey Dahmer, according to his confessions, attempted to give these to some of his victims while they were still alive, drilling holes in their skulls and pouring in acid in attempts to create zombies. Thankfully given the circumstances, this more often than not killed the unfortunate victims.
- The youngest person to ever be subjected to a lobotomy was Howard Dully, at the age of twelve. He turned out pretty much fine save for some constant eye infections.
- Henry Gustave Molaison underwent a lobotomy in hopes of treating severe seizures he suffered from, while it mostly resolved that issue the procedure rendered him unable to form new memories so that for the remaining decades of his life he was one of the most studied medical cases regarding such things ever. His brain was later harvested before he died in order to more directly study what parts of his brain had been destroyed to gain greater insights into how the brain forms memories.