Lobotomies - how many people were 'done' in U.S.?

Two questions:
Does anyone have any figures on how many mental patients in total were given psycho-surgery (lobotomy/leucotomy) for mental illness? With dates? The number I have for the UK is 10,365 between 1942 and 1954, with a ‘substantial’ fall in frequency after 1961 - which could mean anything. (from Oxford Companion to the Mind).

Also, is there any possibility that such surgery is still being done anywhere in the US? What is the legal position?
Any good sources on this gratefully received.

18,000 between 1939 and 1951, the period when most of them were performed. Read more here:


Sorry, but I am not sure that there is going to be an exact answer. Several other sources that I checked list the number at 50,000 in the U.S. Here is one with a more scholarly citation in it.


Lobotomies are (rarely) done today in the U.S. but not for mental disorders. They are used to treat cases of extreme epilepsy.


The “next decade” was kind of the “Golden Age” of the lobotomy, so I would expect that the final tally would be relatively close to 21,000.

If your interested in the topic, I highly recommend Mad In America. One of the most eye-opening books I’ve read in a while.

Cecil says:

But, in 1949, the [Nobel Prize was awarded to Egas Moniz](The first lobotomy in the United States took place on September 14, 1936. By August 15, 1949, the number of victims had reached 10,706.), for his work in developing the procedure. The awarding of the prize resulted in an explosion in the number of procedures performed:

So, 20k minimum, 50k possible.

Broken link above. Should be:

Nobel Prize was awarded to Egas Moniz