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  • Julie Cranston

    Trephination set, Paris, France, 1771-1830 All the equipment needed for trephination – the process by which a hole is surgically made in the head – is in this case. This includes the trephines themselves, with their cylindrical blades, a large brace to hold the trephines during drilling, two rugines to remove connective tissue from bones, two lenticulars to depress brain material during surgery, and a brush to remove fine fragments of bone.

  • Jeanne Baker

    A trepanation kit from 1771, displaying various tools used to drill or scrape a holes into human skulls. Exposing the brain's membrane was thought to cure epileptic seizures, migraines, and mental disorders. Evidence of this practice dates back to prehistoric times.

  • Lucinda Brant Author

    Trephination set, Wood, leather, brass, metal, textile; Paris, 1771-1830. Among the trephines with their cylindrical blades, are a large brace to hold the trephines during drilling, 2 rugines to remove connective tissue from bones, 2 lenticulars to depress brain material during surgery & a brush to remove fine fragments of bone. Styling of instruments & box reflects a long tradition of producing surgical & scientific instruments as finely crafted, gentlemanly possessions. Wellcome Collection

  • Amy Bowman

    TREPHINATION KIT, 1771 (Wellcome Collection) Apparently, sometimes the only way to get an epileptic to stop acting so strange was to drill a hole in his head to let the demons out. Trephination has been in practice since ancient times, employed to cure everything from migraines to bad moods. Neurosurgeons still use a form of it today, though they call it a craniotomy.

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Skull that has gone through Trepanning (a surgical intervention in which a hole is drilled or scraped into the human skull, exposing the dura mater...) They did this for people who had headaches - probably a migraine sufferer.

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Trepanning Drill, 1850 - 1900: Used for neurosurgical procedures which required drilling through the skull. For example aspiration of subdural blood clots after head injury, or the elevation of depressed skull fractures. The centre piece of the bit allow the drill to be centered and once the outer teeth had engaged it would be withdrawn so as to prevent further intracranial injury. The high quality brass and steel bit is is detachable.