Brain surgery
A surgical team prepares for brain surgery on a patient at the National Neurology Institute in Budapest December 15, 2012. The complex operation, called deep brain stimulation (DBS) and involves stimulation of certain areas of the human brain with high-frequency electricity, is carried out with the patient awake and communicating with the doctors during certain phases of the operation. Reuters/Bernadett Szabo

Recently, doctors asked a Spanish musician patient to play the saxophone while they operated on his brain during a 12-hour surgery. The doctors used the experiment to ensure that the patient’s ability to play music was not affected during the operation.

The man played a few bars of the jazz classic "Misty" during the 12-hour surgery for removal of brain tumour, reports the Telegraph. Carlos Aguilera, 27, played his alto saxophone at the end of the operation as the neurosurgeons were in the final, delicate stages of the surgery.

In the first such operation performed in Europe, 16 surgeons at Spain’s Malaga Hospital kept the musician awake during the operation to check the effect of the surgery on his speech, hearing and movement. Doctors said the musician was sedated and on painkillers but remained conscious during the entire procedure.

Similar operations have been conducted in other countries, including the US. Slovenian opera singer Ambroz Bajev-Lapajne had sung portions of Franz Schubert's “Gute Nacht” during his brain surgery for removal of a tumour. Similar to that was the recent case of guitarist Kulkamp Anthony Dias, who played the Beatles’ “Yesterday” and other songs during the removal of his tumour in Brazil, reports the NPR.

Two such cases were also reported in 2014. In the first, Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra violinist Naomi Elishuv played during a surgery in Tel Aviv for correction of tremors. The second case was of American concert violinist Roger Frisch, who underwent a procedure similar to Elishuv's to free him from essential tremors.

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