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Paul McCartney revealed in a 1986 interview in Musician magazine that John Lennon once asked him and his wife, Linda, "You fancy getting the trepanning done?" He was referring to trepanation surgeries that put holes in the skull using hand drills, cutting or scraping techniques. "Trepan" comes from the Greek word trypanon, which, fittingly, means "a borer."
Trepanation is really an old term, also known as trephination, according to Dr. Raphael Davis, a neurosurgeon and co-director of the Neurosciences Institute at Stony Brook University. "It's been done for about 5,000 years, making one of the oldest medical procedures known to the human race," Davis told Live Science.
Article - Surgical - Neurology - International - Skulls
According to an article in the journal Surgical Neurology International, more than 1,500 trepanned skulls — or about 5 to 10 percent of all skulls found from the Neolithic period (which began about 12,000 years ago and ended about 4,000 years ago) — have been uncovered throughout the world, from Europe and Scandinavia to North America; from Russia and China to South America (particularly in Peru).
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In the south-central Andean highlands, trepanations first appeared around A.D. 200 to 600, according to the University of California. The treatment was largely practiced until the early 16th century. An article in the journal World Neurosurgery reported that trepanation was widely practiced throughout China thousands of years ago.
Why did people do it?
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