Skull with traces of trepanation
Researchers who studied the skulls of long-dead Incas, made a startling discovery: patients of Indian physicians was a high chance of survival after surgery on the skull.
It turned out that after such an operation the Incas survived twice as often as those patients who were operated on during the civil war in the United States – approximately 400 years later, says Science Alert.
The Incas of Peru often practiced this operation. More than 800 skulls with signs of trepanation have been found during archaeological excavations in the coastal areas and the Andean highlands of Peru, starting in 400 BC. This is more than the total number of trephinated skulls have been found in other countries. The results of the excavation show how the methods of the surgeons of the Incas evolved over time, leading to incredible patient survival over 80%.
“There are still a lot of unknown data about the procedure itself and the people, which were carried out trepanation, but the results during the civil war was bleak compared to the time of the Incas,” said neurologist David Kushner from the Medical school of the University of Miami Miller.
Apparently, the technology of trepanation has improved over time: the holes became smaller, reducing the risks of puncture of the protective membrane of the brain and the emergence of infections.
“In the days of the Incas mortality ranged from 17 to 25 percent, and during the civil war, it ranged from 46 to 56 percent. It’s a big difference. The question is, as the ancient Peruvian surgeons had results that were significantly superior results surgeons during the American civil war?” – said Kouchner.
One of the reasons for such indicators can be hygiene. Military doctors often used during operations, unsterilized instruments and fingers. In addition, often contaminated bandages were used over and over again. In addition, injuries that happened during the Civil war, was very different from the injuries that occurred during the time of the Incas.
“However, over time, the doctors of the Incas learned which methods were better. Physical data definitely indicate that the ancient surgeons have improved the procedure over time. Their success is truly remarkable,” emphasizes David Kushner.