Lobotomy, also known as leucotomy or leukotomy, is a neurosurgical procedure that severs most of the connections to and from the prefrontal cotex -- which is the anterior (front) part of the prefrontal lobes of the brain. The procedure was originated by Antonio Egas Moniz in 1935, and involved drilling holes in the side of the patient's skull through which instruments were inserted. In 1937, Italian doctor Amarro Fiamberti devised the transorbital procedure, whereby the frontal lobes were accessed through the eye sockets. Inspired by Fiamberti, American neuropsychiatrist Walter Freeman began experimenting with leucotomy, and sought to come up with a method that could be performed in mental hospitals and other facilities without the surgical facilities, surgeons or even anesthesia. In 1945 he used an icepick from his kitchen to experiment on grapefruits and later cadavers to come up with his own "transorbital" technique.
The Freeman transorbital technique is used in Sucker Punch. The procedure involved lifting the upper eyelid and placing the point of a thin surgical instrument called an orbitoclast (Freeeman's icepick) under the lid and against the top of the eye socket. A mallet drives the orbitoclast through the thin bone and into the brain along the plane of the bridge of the nose (about 15 degrees) about 5 centimeters into the brain, and then pivoted 45 degrees so the tip cuts toward the nose. Returning the orbitoclast to the neutral position, it is driven a further 2 cm into the brain and pivoted 28 degrees to each side. The orbitoclast is then withdrawn and the procedure repeated on the other side. The purpose of the cuts is to sever the white fibrous matter connecting prefrontal cortex tissue from the thalmus.
After her drunken Stepfather became dangerously violent, Babydoll tried to stop him but accidentally killed her younger sister with a stray shot. She was sent to Lennox House, where her Stepfather conspired with crooked orderly Blue Jones to have the girl lobotomized so that she would not be able to talk with police.
- On Nov. 12, 1935, Moniz directed the first of a series of leucotomies at the Hospital Santa Marta in Lisbon, Portugal.
- Moniz did not believe that the brain itself suffered from any pathology, but rather it was the neural connections that went bad, so he believed cutting those connections cured mental illness.
- Dr. Sobral Cid was skeptical of the "results" Moniz claimed, suggesting instead that any "improvements" were actually the side effects of shock and brain trauma.