Cranioplasty in medieval Persia and the potential spread of this knowledge to Europe

Mohammadali M. Shoja, Paul S. Agutter, Marios Loukas, Ghaffar Shokouhi, Majid Khalili, Mehdi Farhoudi, R. Shane Tubbs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Introduction Skull trepanation is an ancient and often religious act found in remains from around the world. However, cranioplasty for the surgical treatment of skull pathologies is a relatively recent phenomenon. In this paper, we focus on the account of skull injury and cranioplasty in medieval Persia. Materials and results Herein, we describe and translate the over 500-year-old writings of the Persian physician Baha al- Dowleh Razi regarding cranioplasty in an excerpt from his book entitled Khulasat al-Tajarib (Summary of Experiences). This early writer detailed the methods and indications for cranioplasty including the use of xenographs. Additionally, we attempt to trace this early understanding of skull surgery and follow its possible spread to Europe. Conclusions It is such early experiences and methods of cranial surgery on which we base our current understanding of neurosurgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1993-1996
Number of pages4
JournalChild's Nervous System
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Cranioplasty
  • Cranium
  • History
  • Middle East
  • Skull
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology


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