The New York Times reports that a South African musician named Musa Manzini played guitar while undergoing brain surgery to remove a tumor.
The procedure is known as “awake craniotomy” and the guitar playing was used as an indicator to alter the doctors in case they probe the wrong place.
The source wrote:
“Presumably, had he hit a wrong note, it would have been an immediate signal for the surgeons to probe elsewhere.”
Dr. Basil Enicker, a specialist neurosurgeon who led the operation at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital, explained:
“It can be very difficult to tell the difference between the tumor and normal brain tissue. Once you’re near a critical area, you can pick it up early, because he will tell you.”
Dr. Rohen Harrichandparsad, another surgeon on the team, stated:
“We wanted to make sure we took as much of the tumor as we safely could, but preserve his dexterity. We had to ensure that whatever pathways he was using for music were preserved. There’s no single pathway but a multitude that interact.”
Manzini said about the procedure:
“There’s this loud sucking sound and stuff [referring to the vacuuming device used to remove blood while the surgeons operated], yet I don’t feel no pain at all. It’s like you’re in between being dead and being alive.”