Jazz on my mind: Italian musician played piano while surgeons operated on his brain

The doctors in Italy could enjoy some refined jazz tunes at work, when a patient whose brain they were operating on played the piano in real time.

The technique dubbed ‘awake brain surgery’ helps doctors treat brain tumors and epileptic seizures without accidentally damaging the areas responsible for vision, speech or movement. The patients stay conscious during the operation and can respond to questions – which allows the surgeons to know that they are treating the correct part of the brain.

One particular patient of the Maurizio Bufalini Hospital in Cesena, central Italy, did more than just talking, though. A music teacher and jazz lover, he performed several melodies on the piano while having a cancerous tumor removed from his brain.

© AUSL della Romagna / www.auslromagna.it

The head of the clinic’s neurological department, Doctor Luigino Tosatto, said that the complex and “exceptional” surgery was a success. The chosen method was the best option to save the person’s life, at the same time ensuring that he preserves all of his “artistic and musical skills,” he added.

Neurological operations on conscious patients become more popular in various parts of the world. Last year, South African jazz musician Musa Manzini played guitar through his brain surgery. He chose to stay awake in order to preserve and restore his finger movements.

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