Far from becoming a practice of the past, craniotomies are performed regularly by neurosurgeons for many procedures including tumour removal and the relief of raised intracranial pressure. But is it not the sole remit of medics.
In 1978 Amanda Fielding (8) was recorded on cine-camera drilling a hole in her own head in front of a mirror.
Later she ran for parliament proposing free trepanation on the NHS. Others including Peter Halvorson, founder and advocator of ITAG the International Trepanation Advocacy Group remain strong protagonists (9).
The operation is still carried out today without anaesthetic by certain African tribes (with an arguably more sound rationale of headache following head trauma).
Video-footage of African as well as DIY craniotomy can be seen on U-tube (10) The Phisick website does not endorse amateur craniotomy.