Guyon type trepan, Paris, France, 1831-1890
Guyon’s trepan is a destructive tool. It is used during an embryotomy. This is the destruction of the foetus when natural childbirth is impossible. It was developed by French obstetrician Jean Casimir Félix Guyon (1831-1920). A trepan was one of many surgical instruments an obstetrician might take when attending a birth. The trepan perforated the foetal skull before collapsing it. It was only used when there was significant risk to the mother or in the case of still birth. This gold plated example dates from the mid-1800s. It was made by French instrument maker Collin.
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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.
Glossary: obstetrical trepan