Title

The legacy of hephaestus: The first craniotomy

Document Type

Article

Abstract

Hephaestus is best known as the Greek god of metalworking, fire, and fine arts. As the only Olympian deity not endowed with physical perfection, he has been considered misfortunate among the Olympians. However, textual analysis of his myths reveals that Hephaestus was highly regarded by Greeks for his manual skills and intelligence. Furthermore, one of the myths about Hephaestus indicates that he performed the first recorded craniotomy. This text asserts that Hephaestus intentionally performed the craniotomy to remove a mass growing inside Zeus' head, thereby relieving him of an excruciating headache. The successful craniotomy resulted in the birth of the goddess Athena. From a neurosurgical perspective, the story is allegorical. Nonetheless, it represents the surgical management of intracranial ailments, which is thought to have been reported in Greece centuries later by Hippocrates. Copyright © 2010 by the Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

Publication Date

10-1-2010

Publication Title

Neurosurgery

ISSN

0148396X

Volume

67

Issue

4

First Page

881

Last Page

884

PubMed ID

20881551

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

10.1227/NEU.0b013e3181ee022b

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