Tibetans performed brain surgery 2900 yrs ago

Brain surgery was practiced by Tibetan doctors at least 2,900 years ago with Indian doctor`s help.

Updated: Apr 26, 2011, 10:14 AM IST

Beijing: Brain surgery was practiced by
Tibetan doctors at least 2,900 years ago but it was perfected
with the sterilisation techniques introduced by an Indian
doctor, a specialist on Tibetan culture and literature said.

"The 2,900-year-old Tibetan Tripitaka states clearly
why and how brain surgery was carried out," Karma Trinley, an
associate professor from Tibetan language and literature
department of Tibet University in Lhasa, capital of China`s
Tibet Autonomous Region, who carried out research on the
Tibetan Tripitaka, an ancient encyclopedia, said.

"It describes in detail how a young Indian doctor
watched brain surgery being performed by a veteran surgeon,"
he told state-run `Xinhua` news agency.

The young Indian doctor, whose name was similar to the
Tibetan name Tsogyel was not allowed to join the surgery, but
merely stood by with the permission of the patient suffering
from severe headache.

According to the Tripitaka, the pain was so severe
that the patient repeatedly knocked his head on hard objects
to ease the pain.

When Tsogyel saw the surgeon trying to operate on the
patient`s brain with a pair of tweezers, he shouted that the
tweezers had to be heated first.

"Tsogyel was a well-reputed doctor and was good at all
medical practice except brain surgery," said Karma Trinley.
"The surgeon followed his advice and the surgery later
proved successful."

He said Tsogyel`s advice on sterilisation helped raise
the success rate of surgery at the time.
Tsogyel later became a skilled surgeon himself.

The Tripitaka is the earliest collection of Buddhist

The information contained in the writings was
originally passed down orally, and was finally written down in
the third century BC. The Tibetan Tripitaka was translated
from Sanskrit language of ancient India.

It contains two parts, the Gangyur and the Dangyur.
The Gangyur is a collection of teachings of Sakyamuni,
(Lord Buddha) adopted by his disciples after his death.

The Dangyur is a collection of notes and
interpretations on the Gangyur, provided by Indian and Tibetan
Buddhist masters, scholars and translators.

It covers philosophy, logics, literature, linguistics,
art, astronomy, medicine, architecture and calendar