Inca — specialists in craniotomy

January 9, 2012 18:21

Inca has extensive knowledge of human anatomy and knew how to apply them in practice. With great skill to perform surgical operations, including making craniotomy.

Physicians-Inca deftly and quickly opened the skull to help their wounded. Researchers who study the skeletons of the Incas, found that for every six turtles have the following operations. The holes in the skull indicate surgery, the researchers found that patients generally recovered without any complications after surgery, and lived for many years.

In Europe during the Renaissance were wars. Europeans have made a lot of skill in the rapid killing of their own kind — they killed a very professional manner. Archers shoot so accurately that the enemy, struck arrow, did not always have time to understand what has already been killed. In the body of the victim remained deep mortal wound. Swords and rapiers were also dangerous weapon in the hands of a physically strong and well-trained soldiers. Stab and incised wounds of this weapon is very often fatal.

But in the Peruvian Andes in the XV century, the situation was somewhat different. There, the soldiers preferred to other types of weapons: they pounded enemy maces, clubs, fired from kamnemetov. Sling and mace — not a toy, but the use of such weapons on the battlefield had more wounded than killed. Very often the Inca warriors were wounded in the head.

Two anthropologists from the U.S. conducted a study of fossil skulls of the Incas and summarized all data following surgical operations. They concluded that the nature of multiple injuries to the head caused the Incas is looking for ways to treat such injuries. As is often the case in the history of mankind, the war stimulated the development of medicine, and the Incas have learned to craniotomy to save the wounded soldiers, and even return to an active life.

Valerie Andryushko from Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven and John Verano of Tulane private university in New Orleans, published an article in the journal American Journal of Physical Antropology, which contained the results of their research. Scientists have studied the skull learned recently during excavations in Cuzco, the capital of the Incas. These findings have detailed and carefully described.

— Although the museum is much trepan skulls Incas, in many cases, do not know exactly where they were found, among which items, and sometimes there is no exact dating — said John Verano. — Of the 411 skulls examined by us 16 percent had at least one opening of trepanation.
Striking figures! Nowhere else in the world, in any other country, have never found such a large amount of fossil skulls with traces of surgical trepanation. The first of these is dated around 400 BC. e. While in Europe, such operations are known, too, for a long time, they were not made as frequently as in the Peruvian Andes, and the surgical technique itself has not reached such perfection.

In the earliest period of the history of the Incas after surgery craniotomy recovered a third of the operated patients.

— This can be seen on the edges of the bone around the hole in the skull, — said John Verano. — They are completely covered with new bone, smooth and round holes.

During the heyday of the Inca culture, these operations have become almost commonplace. More than 90 percent of patients recover completely, led a normal life, and died, usually over years and even decades. Furthermore, the percentage of infected wounds was very low.

Surgeons Incas knew and successfully apply different disinfectants. They treated wounds saponin, cinnamic acid and tannin. No anesthesia was not. But it probably was not as bad as you might think. The skull is opened, mainly in cases of severe head injuries in order to reduce the intracranial pressure. If a patient with such a wound was conscious, he still suffered from unbearable pain.

Surgeons have used four different techniques of operation: either drilled a hole in the skull bones, or scraped a hole, or a rectangular piece of bone sawed or cut rounded piece of bone (bone-washer), which after the operation could be put in place again. The latter method, according to researchers Andryushko faith, used in cases of emergency surgery if the wound was severe, with obvious consequences.

Despite advances in surgery, archaeologists have not found in the excavations of the Inca culture no special surgical instruments. Ritual copper tumi knife was not hard for craniotomy. Peruvian scientists experiments on living people, which took place in the forties and fifties, have shown that certain metals Incas were not suitable for such purposes.
Later anthropologists have tried to batter and cut the skull stone knives, this time they were experimenting with the skulls of dead animals.

However, the basis for the operation on the skull could also be a disease not related to trauma. Anthropologists Andryushko and faith found, for example, some patients have symptoms of mastoiditis — inflammation of the mastoid process of the temporal bone. The disease, which manifests painful headaches may be caused by poorly cured inflammation of the middle ear. Headaches and dizziness are often provided a basis for a craniotomy. Some turtles done not one hole, but a few — to seven.

Despite the studies, craniotomy Incas remains one of the greatest mysteries of the history of medicine. Preserved no Indian sources that mention of such operations. In the descriptions, compiled the first Spanish conquerors of the South American continent, is also silent on the craniotomy by the Incas.

Spaniards made such operations. But the Incas far superior European conquerors in the art open skull for medical purposes.

Author: G.Sidneva

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