Historical information

Long term loan from Neurological Society of Australasia Museum of Neurosurgical Instruments,South Australia. Catalogue with Historical Commentaries Second Edition January 2006 Copy located at RACS Museum

Physical description

Trumble's Skull Plough or craniotome devised by Hugh Trumble (1864-1962 )

This craniotome was designed by Hugh Trumble (1894-1962) of the Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, one of the eight founders of the Neurosurgical Society of Australasia. It was a modification of an earlier instrument, similar in principle but less versatile, designed by Sir Henry Souttar(l875 - 1964), a very inventive surgeon who worked in
the London Hospital. Souttar also used a motor-powered circular saw when necessary. He cut very large circular bone flaps, exposing the occipital lobes and posterior fossa in a few minutes. Trumble reported the use of this craniotome as "an expeditious method of cutting bone flaps" and in the designer's hands this claim was certainly justified.

To use the crauiotome, it was necessary to hold the skull rigidly, and this was done by embedding the head in a plaster mould. Three holes were drilled in the skull to fix the pin of the craniotome, and the flap was then cut in a series of three arcs, after which the flap was elevated with levers until its base fractured. The 'Trumbolian" instrumentation was used in the Alfred Hospital by a number of Trumble's pupils.

The craniotome is made of steel, not plated and apparently not stainless. It is believed that Trumble made his craniotomes himself, in a backyard workshop.