Archive for May 13th, 2008

Inca brain surgeons improved (after a few centuries)

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

Holes cut into skulls in the Cuzco area indicate that trepanation was a relatively common practice for Inca surgeons, most likely as treatment for combat injuries.

Interestingly, the skulls dating from 1000 A.D. show no evidence of bone regrowth which means the owners of said skulls died under the knife. They clearly didn’t give up, though, because by 1400 A.D. 90% of the skulls showed healing and no infection.

Of 411 skulls that were sufficiently well preserved to study, 66 had holes cut through the bone.

In one location, 21 of 59 skulls—over a third—had received trepanation.

While methods of trepanation varied over time, Inca surgeons eventually settled on a scraping technique to penetrate the skull without causing wider injury.

“The skull was slowly scraped away, resulting in a circular hole surrounded by a wider area of scraped bone,” Verushko said.

Some of the skulls had been perforated more than once, including one individual who had undergone the operation seven times.

Damn. Stop-loss much? :eek:






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