Trepanation is one of the oldest forms of surgery in human history, dating to the Neolithic period as far back as 7000 B.C. It involves opening the skull, typically with the intent to relieve pressure on the brain. However, it was also used to treat people believed to be possessed by spirits or suffering from some other metaphysical affliction. Archeologists have discovered evidence to suggest that nearly 70 percent of pre-Columbian Mesoamericans treated with trepanation survived the procedure [source: Tiesler Blos].
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