They drove demons out of their heads: scientists found out why the Incas performed a craniotomy

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 Driven demons out of the head: scientists figured out why the Incas performed trepanation of the skull

A terrible procedure, perhaps, was needed to relieve pressure on the brain.

conducted research on the medical procedures of the Incas. They found out that this civilization used trepanation of the skull – the surgical drilling or scraping of a small hole in it.

The procedure was required for the treatment of epilepsy. Such conclusions were made after studying the connection between cases of a convulsive disorder with the prevalence of trepanned skulls of the pre-Columbian civilization of Peru, writes Express.co.uk.

Pole Espino from Western University and his colleagues say that trepanation is the oldest surgical procedure in the world. It was used until the 16th century AD. In addition, it is sometimes practiced today.

In ancient times, this phenomenon was quite common. At the same time, the Peruvian culture of South America, even before Columbus, invested most of all in the development of this practice. The peoples here were distinguished by excellent surgical skills.

Why this was so is unknown. However, the oldest skull is associated with the Paracas cultures of the Andes. They existed from 700 BC. e. before 300 AD e. Similar traditions existed in the Peruvian highlands. In the era of the Inca Empire, trepanation was also preserved.

Mostly, this surgical operation was required due to the high incidence rate – from 11 to 40%. At first, civilizations were just learning, but then they became professionals in this matter. In most cases, trepanation avoided the midline of the skull, perhaps to minimize damage to the cerebral sagittal sinus.

It is this vessel that carries fluid and waste away from the brain. But the researchers also note that pre-Columbian Peruvians may have believed that epileptic seizures had a supernatural origin. Perhaps they believed that in this way they release the demon from the head of a sick person.