An orchestra violinist played the violin while a group of doctors performed awake brain surgery on the woman and a video of the procedure has gone viral. While doctors at the King’s College Hospital in London worked to remove a brain tumour, the violinist was asked to perform during the operation to ensure her coordination was not accidentally damaged by surgeons.
The patient, identified as 53-year-old Dagmar Turner, is a former management consultant from the Isle of Wight and was diagnosed in 2013 with a large grade 2 (slow growing) glioma after suffering a seizure during a symphony. Prior to the surgery, doctors mapped Turner’s brain to identify areas that were active when she played the instrument. An awake brain surgery is a procedure during which the patient is awake and alert and is used to treat tumours and epilepsy.
According to the NHS website, Dagmar’s tumour was located in the right frontal lobe of the brain, close to an area that controls the fine movement of her left hand. Precise and skilled use of this hand is essential for playing the violin as the fingers regulate the length of the strings by holding them against the fingerboard, producing different pitches.
Watch the video of the performance here:
“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,” her neurosurgeon Prof. Keyoumars Ashkan said in a statement. “We managed to remove over 90% of the tumor, including all the areas suspicious of aggressive activity, while retaining full function in her left hand,” she added.
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