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Trepanation at War Times: Napoleonic Wars and North American Civil War

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Trepanation, Trephining and Craniotomy


Head wounds and cranial fractures were the only indications of trepanation for centuries. These injuries were more frequent during the war times, but the cranial lesions were similar to those of civil life or produced usually during work. In the Renaissance, firearms and artillery are introduced in the battlefield and war wounds changed. The number of soldiers involved in battles and war campaigns increased. In this time the first systems of medical attention to the soldiers on the part of the armies were organised. We describe the techniques and indications of cranial trepanation to the soldiers in the Napoleonic Wars at the beginning of the eighteenth century, related in the memories by the French surgeon DJ Larrey and the British surgeon GJ Guthrie, and of the American Civil War in the second half of the eighteenth century, compiled in the files of the General Surgeon of the United States, JK Barnes.

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González-Darder, J.M. (2019). Trepanation at War Times: Napoleonic Wars and North American Civil War. In: Trepanation, Trephining and Craniotomy . Springer, Cham.

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  • Print ISBN: 978-3-030-22211-6

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-030-22212-3

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