Historical References for Trepanning
Auto Beauty Business Culture Dieting DIY Events Fashion Finance Food Freelancing Gardening Health Hobbies Home Internet Jobs Law Local Media Men's Health Mobile Nutrition Parenting Pets Pregnancy Products Psychology Real Estate Relationships Science Seniors Sports Technology Travel Wellness Women's Health

Historical References for Trepanning

Much of our understanding of trepanning comes from an archeological dig in France where the skulls of 120 humans were found dating back to 6500 B.C. Forty of these skulls had burr holes and more remarkably the skulls showed signs of healing suggesting that this procedure was considered a medical procedure and not some form of torture.

It may be in fact the oldest surgical procedure known to humankind. Much of our understanding of trepanning comes from an archeological dig in France where the skulls of 120 humans were found dating back to 6500 B.C. Forty of these skulls had burr holes and more remarkably the skulls showed signs of healing suggesting that this procedure was considered a medical procedure and not some form of torture.

European Classical, Middle Ages and Renaissance references

The father of modern medicine, Hippocrates ( 460 – 377 BC) wrote about trepanation and how to do the procedure. The Roman physician and philosopher, Galen (129 AD to 199AD? - date of death is uncertain) wrote about trepanning, though it would have been practiced on monkeys in his day , forbidden as a procedure for humans. Galen's influence on medicine and philosophy lasted for over a millennium.

Trepanning was widely accepted again during the middle ages and renaissance period. It was used for many medical conditions, especially head wounds and epilepsy. The twelfth-century surgeon Roger of Salerno, stated, "For mania and melancholy, the skin of the top of the head should be incised in a cruciate fashion and the skull perforated to allow matter to escape."

Pre Colombian trepanation within the mesoamerican cultures

The evidence for trepanning is rare, but there is evidence that it was practiced in mesoamerica during the pre Colombian period. Evidence of skulls found in this part of the world from ancient burial sites, pre columbian art, and human reports, suggests that trepanning may have been a death ritual where the skulls of those slain in battle were taken as a trophy skull. The cultures who practiced trepanning in the America's were predominately the Andean cultures which are the pre Incan civilization known as the Paracas Ica who lived south of Lima, Peru.

Most of our information of trepanation for this time period leads us to believe it was carried out to mutilate the body after death, as evidenced by the use of the skull rack (tzompantli) in which skulls were attached and displayed.

There is still some data suggesting that trepanning was done on the living. The evidence for this hypothesis was the shine and smoothness around the trepanned hole indicating new bone growth and further suggesting some human beings actually survived for months and even years afterward.

Montrealers have a wonderful world renown neurological hospital: The Montreal Neurological Institute.

http://www.mni.mcgill.ca/

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trepanning

http://www.minddisorders.com/Ob-Ps/Psychosurgery.html

 

Consumer tip: Get discounts on leading health & medical advice brands by exploring the latest discount codes for health & medical advice. Utilize community-sourced coupons, promo codes, and in-store offers using our partner websites.
Need an answer?
Get insightful answers from community-recommended
experts
in Brain Health & Neurology on Knoji.
Would you recommend this author as an expert in Brain Health & Neurology?
You have 0 recommendations remaining to grant today.
Comments (4)

Great discussion. The French writer Louis-Ferdinand Celine was trepanned during the first world war and wrote about it in his novels.

thank you Michael

Very interesting historical medical information.

thanks Rae

ARTICLE DETAILS
RELATED ARTICLES
RELATED CATEGORIES
ARTICLE KEYWORDS