History of trepanation


16 Responses to “History of trepanation”

  1. Peter says:

    It’s also a good way to cure someone of an infestation by one of the Insects from Shaggai.

  2. Chris Brewer says:

    First person account of trepanation procedure (in a friend’s bedroom!)

    Warning: Graphic photos. (via Metafilter a long way back)

  3. Pyros says:

    nice octothorp dude!

  4. JeffreyMartin says:

    I met a man named Ben in Oaxaca city, it was on Day of the Dead, no less. Ben was on his way to Brazil to meet his great friend, Ahuayasca. Ben had drilled a hole in his head once. I will post the entire story here sometime. One of the strangest stories I’ve ever heard. So strange that I forced myself to write it all down before I went to sleep that night.

  5. heide says:

    My last name is Trepanier and I have been hoping to find an insane surgeon somewhere in the origins of the name, but nothing yet.

    Does anyone know if the name came from the procedure or the procedure from the name?

  6. jody says:

    Trepanation is… still practiced today, for medical reasons and also voluntarily to achieve enlightenment.

    The only “enlightenment” you’d get from putting a hole in your head is from the photons that might seep into your brain cavity.

  7. the Other michael says:

    I guess it’s a sign of the “new” BoingBoing that there are scores of people who have nothing better to do with their time than to drill holes in their heads.

    Why do you hate America so much?

  8. dogu4 says:

    The article states that trepanation was done while the subject was awake and without anaesthetic. I wonder how that is known. I can believe there’s no evidence to the contrary, but then what would one expect to find, a video of the procedure from the dark ages?
    It’s widely suspected that while we may not know what exotic combinations of chemicals and other manipulative techniquest being used back then to make the subject tractible during the operation, I’d be surprised if, at the very least, the local harvest of mushrooms or other natural intoxicants weren’t somehow involved.
    And for those of you who’ve never had a really really …I mean REALLY bad headache, you might not understand that the idea of somehow carving into one’s own skull can sound like a good idea.
    Also..the entire nature of pain and its connection to our perception of it is so poorly understood that when it comes to body manipulations, injuries and practices that seem painful, I have to believe the greatest pain is the result of the empathy in the observer.
    I would suppose once the trepination wound is healed there could be some interesting effects achievable by placing ones finger on the spot…in a “knowing” way.

  9. Jerril says:

    #15: And for those of you who’ve never had a really really …I mean REALLY bad headache, you might not understand that the idea of somehow carving into one’s own skull can sound like a good idea.

    I suffer from severe migraine and chronic sinusitis. I have, at times, considered at great length drilling holes in my head in the vague hope that it would help.

    I wouldn’t say I was entirely serious with my plans, but they always remind me of the way a seriously suicidal person often goes through a long planning period and possibly “dry runs” before going through with the act.

    If I hadn’t got my sinusitis and my migraines under control, I would not be surprised if I had eventually ended up with a hole in my head out of desperation. Kill or cure…

  10. Tommy says:

    I need trepanation like I need a hole in my…

    Never mind.

  11. Not a Doktor says:

    You have to be pretty open mined to do that


  12. Jake0748 says:

    Two more holes and you could have a funky, (but lopsided), bowling ball.

  13. Bobdotcom says:

    “In 1632, Joannis Scultetus, who was one of the most accomplished seventeenth century surgeons, described an instrument called a trioploides, which he used for raising depressed skull fractures.”

    For some reason, upon reading this sentence, I immediately thought of this: http://tinyurl.com/2ttnfh

  14. kostia says:

    Trepanned skulls figure prominently in The Golden Compass (the book; I assume it’s not in the movie). The obvious reason to do it is to let Dust in or out.

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