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Medical Museum: September 2012 - French Trepanning Set

September 02, 2012
From the September 2012 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
Each month we visit Dr. Blaufox’s Museum of Historical Medical Artifacts to take a look back at the medical equipment that cleared the way for what patients encounter in doctors’ offices and operating rooms of today. Some equipment may be recognizable, while other inventions featured here have since become obsolete or have had their usefulness discredited.

Category: Pre 19th Century Instruments Cased Set

Estimated Date: 1780
Name: French Trepanning Set

Description: 13“x 8“x 2.5” red leather covered case of trepanning instruments including brace, seven attachments for brace plus wooden handle, bone brush, 2 elevators, 3 lenticulars. The instruments are made of steel with ebony handles. The case is lined with an 18th century type material. The brass plate on the lid reads Chirurgie Militaire. Smaller sets are more common without the brace. Trepanning, also called trephining has been practiced at least as far back as the ancient Egyptians and evidence exists of its use in early civilizations in the Americas. Quite possibly it was used to release spirits from the skull of ill persons, some may have benefited when their abnormal behavior was the result of an injury and a subdural hematoma. One hand held all steel piece has a screw end for initiating the hole. That would be followed by using one of the bits to open the hole to its full extent. The bits have screw tips in the center to place in the initial hole to guide it

The picture and description appear courtesy of Dr. M. Donald Blaufox, M.D., Ph.D, from his website:

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