Trepanation During the Eighteenth Century: To Trepan or not to Trepan

  • José M. González-Darder


The eighteenth century was the ‘trepan century’ due to the interest on trepanation in Europe. Some surgeons, headed by the British Percivall Pott, recommended indiscriminate trepanation, even prophylactic, in case of any wound or cranial fracture. Faced with this, the attitude of the French surgeons was much more restrained. To indicate a trepanation, the French school gave importance to the clinical signs of cerebral compression, concussion and contusion, as well as the type of wounds or fractures. We describe the state of the art of trepanation at the beginning of the eighteenth century through the report of Daniel Turner. Then we approach and discuss the view of surgeons favourable to trepanation (Dionis, Pott, and others), against trepanation (Desault, Bichat and others) and others with an eclectic opinion (Heister and Benjamin Bell).


Trepanation Trephine Prophylactic trepanation Turner Pott Dionis Desault Garengeot Petit Bichat Heister Benjamin Bell 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • José M. González-Darder
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NeurosurgeryHospital Clínico Universitario de ValenciaValenciaSpain

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