A 21 century old head operation
Posted by Greeka on 04 Sep 2003
The discovery of a successful head operation, which is believed to have occurred around 2,000 years ago, has the archaeological society buzzing. The archaeological dig which made this discovery has revealed some interesting facts about the medical proficiency of doctors in that time. The Culture Ministry made a detailed announcement regarding the find and revealed that a process called trepanning was employed on the man, who is believed to have died at the age of 50, which would be sometime between 150 BC and 100 BC. The operations seem to have been conducted according to the writings and directions of Hippocrates, who is the most famous amongst all the ancient doctors.
The process of trepanning used, basically involves the removal of a disc of bone from the skull. The body of the man, on whom the operation was conducted, was found in a large cemetery near the island’s ancient capital, known as Atsiki today. The grave was discovered earlier in the year, due to an excavation which was undertaken before a building project was to begin at this site.
The first indication that an operation of quite a complex nature had been conducted on the man came when excavators discovered a hole at the back of the skull, which was 1.62 centimeters in diameter. It was located in the left parietal bone and this hole was discovered using trepanning by Asterios Aidonis, an anthropologist, who is known for his work with antiquities officials. The operation was largely a success as the edges of the bone within the hole indicated growth and healing and it can be safely assumed that he lived for at least five to six years after the operation was conducted.
The trepanning technique has been in use for nearly 10,000 years, and some studies of primitive tribes indicate that it was primarily used to rid the body of evil spirits, through the head. It is believed that trepanning practiced in Ancient Greece was mainly to prevent death of patients who have suffered serious head wounds which could have otherwise led to internal bleeding or severe infection. Hippocrates himself recommended this procedure for wounds which made a deep impact on the skull, which could have caused a fracture or contusion. His detailed manual on this intricate operation has guided many surgeons immensely and contains many tips, such as one which instructs them to cool their saws frequently, to avoid overheating of the bone. Many examples of this surgery have been found in numerous bodies found from ancient Greek graves.