Trepanning is one of the oldest recorded surgical procedures and has been documented world wide. Although trepanning was used over many time periods, the procedure was first used in the Stone Age. Researchers have found evidence of trepanation used in North America, South America, Africa, and Europe (Missios, 2007).
Trepanation in North America:
-Gradual scraping of the skull in small circles was the most common used technique. Many North American Indian tribes, including Kwatkiutl and Pueblo Indians, used techinques very similar to trepanation to treat the mentally ill (Arnott, Finger, & Smith, 2003).
Trepanation in South America:
– Trepanned skulls have been found in Peru and Bolivia and have been said to have up to seven holes (Clower & Finger, 2001).
Trepanation in Africa:
– Trepanation was most common in countries such as Kenya and Tanganyika for headaches and seizures (Clower & Finger, 2001).
Trepanation in Europe:
– Skulls were found in France by Paul Broca and other researchers. It was noted that inside and near the skulls were pieces of skulls suggesting that the patients wore or carried around the fragments as charms (Clower & Finger, 2001).
At first researchers thought that the holes found in ancient skulls were from weapons or accidental breakage. After observing the similiarities in the holes, scientists began to attribute the holes to trepanation (Clower & Finger, 2001). Trepanation was used for every condition from headaches to insanity and eplipsy (Kidd, 1946).