trepanning

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trepanning

Postby the_power on Tue Sep 02, 2008 12:16 pm

So, there are many cool things you could do at a gig...but what about trepanning ?

Is there much known other than "holes in skulls found, many healed" ? Seriously though, I could see it now - I leap around like a mentaller, some reenactors hold me down while the public gather to see what's going on, and Billy approches with charcoaled panda eyes, a dirty big blade of flint and a grin. Maybe a bit of a haircut, in a small area, then out with the fake blood, some appropriate grunting and a few shards of bloody bone is produced. I'm pretty sure I'd want to be feigning unconciousness by then.

How do you reckon the wound was closed ? Just pull over the flap & hope for the best, or did they do stitching ?

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Re: trepanning

Postby Neil on Tue Sep 02, 2008 1:10 pm

I remember a bit of a documentary I on discovery once about tribes in Africa (I think) where this is still practiced. As far as I know it was a case of pull back skin, drill hole and replace skin. But not 100% sure.
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Re: trepanning

Postby Cathal on Tue Sep 02, 2008 2:13 pm

Surely there was some kind of wound stitching. But it will be pretty hard to find any evidence. Afaik the Romans had chirurgical needles, maybe Nerva could tell us some details. Pre-Roman people were able to do lots of cloth stitching - so why not wounds also?


[off topic]
Here's a good example for a perfect Viking trepanning:

Image

:twisted: 8-) 8-) 8-)
[/off topic]
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Re: trepanning

Postby Billy on Tue Sep 02, 2008 4:48 pm

Ah yes,

this old chestnut.

Barra Ó Donnabháin has done some work on this practice in Ireland. See:

Barra Ó Donnabháin, 2003 Trepanations and pseudotrepanations: evidence of cranial surgery from prehistoric and early historic Ireland. In R Arnott, S Finger and CUM Smith (eds) Trepanation: history, discovery, theory. Lisse: Swets & Zeitlinger, 79-94.

Barra Ó Donnabháin, 2001 A cut above: cranial surgery in medieval Dublin. In S Duffy (ed) Medieval Dublin II. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 216-232.

Archaeology Ireland also had a report on Late Medieval, early modern excavation with a trepanned skull.
‘Holier than thou: experimental surgery in olde Belfast’, Archaeology Ireland 16 (4) (2002), 7).

St. Bricin is also thought to have saved a King of Brega by performing trepanation. Makes you admire the skill involved, seeing as though [some] people actually survived the procedure.


As regards reenacting it, it'd be a pretty tasteless affair, and you'd have to know your audience well beforehand.
I'd suggest patients were given some kind of anesthetic, in the form of opium, cannabis, laudanum, meconium, mandrake or just copious amounts of alchohol.So, you know, to be fully authentic John, you'd have to go all junkie on us. Or at least get badly sloshed.

Mind you, that has happened at more than one event, if I remember correctly. :shock:
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Re: trepanning

Postby Nerva on Tue Sep 02, 2008 10:01 pm

Cathal wrote:Afaik the Romans had chirurgical needles, maybe Nerva could tell us some details. Pre-Roman people were able to do lots of cloth stitching - so why not wounds also?


Not aware of this practice among our people, but will do a little research (Unless you consider the episode of Rome where Titus Pullo has it done). As for stitching wounds, that is recorded a number of times though not in any detail.
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Re: trepanning

Postby femgeek on Sat Sep 06, 2008 10:11 pm

It wouldnt be too difficult to fake, but it might be a bit much for kids or squeemish people. As far as I know it's not too painful a procedure, since there is no feeling in the bone or brain. Generally, a small inscision was made at the chosen location, and the skin pulled pack so it could be sewn together neatly afterwards. I believe in most cases some form of circular saw was used. then the bit of bone was disgared, and the patient/victim allowed to recover.
You could exagerate it a little though, to make it more interesting/shocking.
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Re: trepanning

Postby Billy on Sun Sep 07, 2008 8:11 pm

As far as I know it's not too painful a procedure, since there is no feeling in the bone or brain


Maybe not any nerves in the brain, but the scalp and sub dermal layers sure have feeling, and the feeling alone of someone scraping or drilling into your skull must reverberate throughout the entire head.

Oweee :shock:

My guess is alcohol, or stronger.

Or at least give the poor crather a bit of wood to bite down on!
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Re: trepanning

Postby Nerva on Mon Sep 08, 2008 9:44 am

Would this be any good :lol:

Image
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Re: trepanning

Postby Cathal on Mon Sep 08, 2008 2:03 pm

Nerva wrote:
Cathal wrote:Afaik the Romans had chirurgical needles, maybe Nerva could tell us some details. Pre-Roman people were able to do lots of cloth stitching - so why not wounds also?


Not aware of this practice among our people, but will do a little research (Unless you consider the episode of Rome where Titus Pullo has it done). As for stitching wounds, that is recorded a number of times though not in any detail.



I found a german page on roman medicine stuff - http://www.medicus-romanus.de


"Nadel" stands for "needle", the translation means:
"It was known a stitched wound would heal much faster than an unstitched. The needles were made of iron and are similar to the needles used in today's chirurgy. Perhaps usual sewing needles were also used. A clear statement can only be made from a find situation, because of the common character of needles."

The bending of shown artifacts reminds me really on modern types... but we're drifting off topic. Now we're talking more classical, eh? :roll: ;)

It's a shame this page is only in German...
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Re: trepanning

Postby Freebeard on Sun Sep 21, 2008 11:21 pm

femgeek pretty much has it down. it is believed that an incision was made into the skin, either T shaped or sometimes an X shape, and the skin layers pulled back to reveal the prime spot for the drilling of the skull. this was then drilled, or cut, and the bone removed. then the remaining skin may have been pulled over the gap, and possibly sewn closed. it is unkown if the medieval practice sewed the skin closed or what, but modern comparisons to modern trepenations hint strongly that sewing occured, seeing as the remining skin had to be closed (it was that or hold it in place with bandages) but sewing seems to be more obvious a choice.

trepanation is a nasty business. as femgeek stated, teh skull or the brain have no feeling per say, but the skin having to be cut, and pulled back from the bone would be very very painful. today's procedures on the brain need only anasesthetic for the skin only, but this in itself is pretty bad.
the idea of cuttin into someone's had would be pretty intense for anyone, as instinct would kick in and you'd naturally despise the fact that someone is cutting into your head.
it owuld be painful (skin cutting) but the idea of i happening, as Billy states would be horrific. some serious intoxicatons/opiates may have been used, but i emphasis may. i have read that in some places that practiced it recently that nothing at all was used, in some cases, and that the "patient" was supposed to endure the ordeal.
either way, a nasty thing to go through
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