It is now 105 years since a Danish surgeon, Berger of Copenhagen, was suffering from non-suppurative inflammation of the tympanum attended with distressing tinnitus aurium and deafness. To relieve this condition the operation of perforating the mastoid process was performed. The patient being old and the bones very hard, the injection used would not pass through the opening in the mastoid into the middle ear. Pain, fever, sleeplessness, vomiting and delirium closed the scene and he died eleven days after the operation. The postmortem revealed "suppurative meningitis." Where the bone had been opened it was found to be two lines in thickness, while the perforator had entered much deeper.
A regimental surgeon by the name of Jasser, in 1776, performed the same operation upon the mastoid of a soldier who had suffered for a long period from a chronic middle-ear suppuration, with occasional subacute attacks attended by great pain. The
TURNBULL L. AN HISTORICAL SKETCH OF THE OPERAATIONS UPON THE MASTOID PROCESS.. JAMA. 1898;XXX(10):535-537. doi:10.1001/jama.1898.72440620023001g