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UK: Patient Plays Violin While Undegoing Brain Surgery

By Published February 20, 2020

A patient undergoing brain surgery at King's College Hospital in London played the violin while surgeons operated on her brain to remove a tumour.

Dagmar Turner, a professional violinist was asked by surgeons to play her instrument to ensure that her musical abilities were not damaged during the surgery.

The tumour in the 53-year-old’s right frontal lobe, was dangerously close to areas of her brain that were responsible for coordinating delicate movements in her left hand. These regions are crucial for playing the violin, and in some spots, their distance from the tumour was as narrow as a credit card.

Ms Turner, from the Isle of Wight, was diagnosed with a brain tumour after suffering a seizure in 2013, she was concerned over losing the ability to play the violin.

"The violin is my passion. I've been playing since I was 10 years old, the thought of losing my ability to play was heart-breaking."

Before the procedure, a team of medical experts spent two hours mapping Turner's brain to figure out which areas were active when she played the violin.

Doctors managed to successfully remove over 90% of the tumour without damaging Turner's fine motor skills. She went home to her husband and son three days after the procedure.

"I'm hoping to be back with my orchestra very soon," Turner said after the surgery. She plays with the Isle of Wight Symphony Orchestra.

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