A 53-year-old woman was kept awake playing the violin during brain surgery while doctors worked on removing her tumor.
Dagmar Turner, a former management consultant and mother to a 13-year-old son, had been battling the brain tumor since 2013, leading to doctors at King’s College Hospital in London deciding to surgically remove it.
The surgery took place with Turner playing the violin to “ensure areas of the patient’s brain responsible for delicate hand movement and coordination” weren’t damaged.
In the video below we can see professor Keyoumars Ashkan and a team carrying out the unique procedure, observed by anesthetists and a therapist.
The procedure began by opening Turner’s skull while under anesthesia, before she was woke up and asked to play the violin while they removed the tumor.
The tumor was located “in the right frontal lobe of her brain, close to an area that controls the fine movement of her left hand,” which Turner uses to play.
Ashkan said in a statement:
“We knew how important the violin is to Dagmar so it was vital that we preserved function in the delicate areas of her brain that allowed her to play. We managed to remove over 90 percent of the tumor, including all the areas suspicious of aggressive activity, while retaining full function in her left hand.”
Around 400 tumors are removed each year at King’s College Hospital, and according to Ashkan, this was the first time it was done while the patient played a musical instrument. Although quite often patients are woken up mid-procedure to perform language tests.
Turner thanked the doctors for carrying out the procedure this way saying,
“The violin is my passion; I’ve been playing since I was 10 years old.”
King’s College Hospital said Turner was well enough to return home three days after the operation.