Recently, an awake craniotomy was performed on a violinist. So, what exactly is this surgery, and how does it work?
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Dagmar Turner is a violinist who was diagnosed with a brain tumor that needed to be removed. The tumor resided in her fright frontal lobe, right int he middle of the spot in the brain that controls the coordination in her left arm and hand, and so to ensure the doctor was keeping these parts of her brain safe, the surgeon asked Turner to play the violin during the awake craniotomy.
An awake craniotomy is when a patient who needs to undergo surgery is sedated at first and then after the incision is made and the section of bone from the skull is removed, the patient is slowly brought back out of sedation so they are conscious while the doctor operates.
But these surgeries can take hours and not only did Turner have to stay away while the surgeon operated on her brain, she had to play the violin—is it possible that this is still the best way to give patients the best outcome if their tumor is in an area near speech and motor centers?
Find out more about the intricacies of brain surgery, awake craniotomies, and Dagmar Turner’s experience in particular in this Elements.
#brainsurgery #craniotomy #violinist #surgery #surgeons #elements #seeker #science
Musician Plays Her Violin During Brain Surgery
“The King’s College Hospital surgeons woke her up in the middle of the operation in order to ensure they did not compromise parts of the brain necessary for playing the violin, such as parts that control precise hand movements and coordination.”
Wide Awake Brain Surgery
“Awake surgery was pioneered decades ago in epilepsy patients: surgeons would keep patients alert enough to ensure they were destroying the tissue in the brain that caused uncontrolled seizures. But it wasn’t until the recent introduction of brain-mapping technology—which allows doctors to create a precise digital replica of a person’s brain cartography—and highly sophisticated anesthetics that more surgeons became comfortable with the idea of waking their patients while they operated”
What It Feels Like to Have Brain Surgery When You’re Awake
“I don’t remember being anxious on the morning of the operation but my girlfriend says I was. I had to lie on my side with my legs propped up so the surgeon could get to the tumor. There was an X drawn on my head to pinpoint the spot.”
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