The clambering, currently called craniotomy, is a surgical practice performed for centuries. This technique is a way of accessing the brain, through a split in the skull, which consists of cuts in it, made in the form of a square or by making holes.

Nowadays, the mere mention of a trepanation or craniotomy still causes a certain malaise, insecurity and even fear, despite all the scientific advances and the experience that we have about it, since it has been practiced for centuries.

In ancient times this technique was used for medical reasons (tumors, epilepsies ...) and religious issues (used the bones of the flesh in religious rituals, etc.).

The Egyptians were the pioneers in applying this type of interventions performed in a somewhat rudimentary way, with few hygienic measures and without anesthesia. In Egypt they kept the fragments of bone extracted from the skull, using them as religious amulets. The sovereigns were in the habit of performing trepanation when they were about to die so that their soul could leave their body. This action was carried out by the court doctor, assisted by "The Hemostat", who was said to be a person whose only act of presence in the room where the operation was performed was able to stop the bleeding of the patient.

Science or religion?

If the trepanation was due to medical causes, it was carried out because the patient suffered from very strong pains in the head, usually due to a tumor. The doctor, with an object similar to a club, hit different areas of the head until the person shrieked in pain, indicating to the doctor the area where the tumor was. The device they used to section the skull was called a trepan (hence the name of this technique).

In the past, not everyone could undergo trepanation, only certain families had this privilege, like the pharaohs.

Everything told seems science fiction, but we must not forget that the main objective of this technique and its executors (except in the religious case), was originally to keep alive those people who trusted their skills, doing everything that was possible to save them. The Egyptians have therefore been the forerunners of what over the years and the advancement of technologies, is part of the science practiced today recognized neurosurgeons in the most prestigious hospitals.

Trephination (November 2019).