from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A surgical instrument having circular, sawlike edges, used to cut out disks of bone, usually from the skull.
  • transitive v. To operate on with a trephine.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A surgical instrument used to remove a circular section of bone from the skull; a trepan.
  • v. To use a trephine during surgery.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An instrument for trepanning, being an improvement on the trepan. It is a circular or cylindrical saw, with a handle like that of a gimlet, and a little sharp perforator called the center pin.
  • transitive v. To perforate with a trephine; to trepan.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To operate upon with a trephine; trepan.
  • n. An improved form of the trepan, consisting of a cylindrical saw with a handle placed transversely, like that of a gimlet, and having a sharp steel point called the center-pin.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a surgical instrument used to remove sections of bone from the skull
  • v. operate on with a trephine


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

French tréphine, from obsolete English trefine, from Latin trēs fīnēs, three ends : trēs, three; see trei- in Indo-European roots + fīnēs, pl. of fīnis, end.


  • The surgical team will fix a metal ring over the sclera, providing a base for the trephine, that is placed over the cornea, in order to cut it.

    Cornea Transplants -Corneal Transplantation Surgical Proceedure

  • A trephine is a medical saw used to open the skull for surgery or to relieve pressure from brain swelling.

    City of Bones

  • “A trephine is the only conceivable way to save his life,” Reilly went on.

    LADY of SKYE

  • After ulcers of the cornea, which have been large, the inequalities and opacity of the cicatrix obscures the sight; in this case could not a small piece of the cornea be cut out by a kind of trephine about the size of a thick bristle, or a small crow-quill, and would it not heal with a transparent scar?

    Zoonomia, Vol. II Or, the Laws of Organic Life

  • After the removing of the trephine, the doctors will use the donor cornea for cutting a circular graft, meaning a button-shaped section of tissue.

    Cornea Transplants -Corneal Transplantation Surgical Proceedure

  • An E. N.T man to whom I told the story also said it is common and wanted to refer me to a neurosurgeon, "He will simply pass a trephine though the skull into the affected area and remove the focus, by either excision or electro-cautery, and you will be cured".

    Dr. Leo Rangell: Music in the Head: Living at the Brain-Mind Border; Part 2

  • "And when I saw this little boy, who had one eye done with the conventional procedure and the other with the trephine, I thought to myself, 'He's experimenting on these people'."

    Trials--And Errors

  • But he alerted hospital officials about his suspicions and then, being told Rowsey had permission to experiment with the trephine, got the American Academy of Ophthalmology to launch an investigation.

    Trials--And Errors

  • After Rowsey performed the trephine surgery on him in 1995, Rogers became legally blind.

    Trials--And Errors

  • Each of the child's eyes had undergone a different operation: one had received a cornea transplant with the standard technique, in which the cornea from a cadaver is stitched into the eye, while the other eye had received an experimental transplant, using a cutting device that surgeon James Rowsey named the Tampa trephine.

    Trials--And Errors


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