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Trephination set, Paris, France, 1771-1830

All the equipment needed for trephination – the process by which a hole is surgically made in the head – is in this case. This includes the trephines themselves, with their cylindrical blades, a large brace to hold the trephines during drilling, two rugines to remove connective tissue from bones, two lenticulars to depress brain material during surgery, and a brush to remove fine fragments of bone. Sirhenry was a surgical instrument maker based in Paris.

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Glossary: lenticular

Referring to or shaped like a lentil, such as the lens of the eye

Glossary: trephine

An instrument for trepanning, being an historical advancement on the trepan. It is a circular or cylindrical saw, with a handle like that of a gimlet, and a little sharp perforator called the center pin.

Glossary: trephination set

Instrument set to perform trephination (Removal of a circular piece ("button") of cranium by a trephine)

Glossary: tireford

used in trephination

Glossary: rugine

drinking cup

Glossary: trephination

The removal of a circular piece of the top of the head. This is done using a sharp implement or circular saw, and was common in Neolithic times. It is thought that the aim was to release evil demons or spirits from the body in the hope this would cure the person of their illness.