A musician played the violin while surgeons removed a tumour from her brain - watch the incredible video

Thursday, 20th February 2020, 10:22 am
Updated Thursday, 20th February 2020, 10:23 am

The video below captures the incredible moment a musician played the violin while surgeons removed a tumour from her brain.

If you can't see this video, watch it here

Dagmar Turner, 53, was diagnosed with a large, slow growing tumour in 2013, after she suffered a seizure during a symphony. Turner had a biopsy and radiotherapy, but it was still growing and becoming more aggressive, so she underwent surgery.

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The talented violinist played the violin while surgeons at King’s College Hospital in London removed a tumour from her brain. Neurosurgeon Prof Keyoumars Ashkan opened her skull before the patient was brought round from the anaesthetic.

Dagmar played violin while her tumour was removed, while being closely monitored by the anaesthetists and a therapist.vIt meant the parts of her brain responsible for delicate hand movement and coordination - crucial when playing violin – were not inadvertently damaged during the millimetre-precise procedure.

Dagmar, a former management consultant from the Isle of Wight, said, "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 but, being a musician himself, Prof Ashkan understood my concerns.

"He and the team at King’s went out of their way to plan the operation – from mapping my brain to planning the position I needed to be in to play. Thanks to them I’m hoping to be back with my orchestra very soon."

Why play violin during an operation?

Dagmar was diagnosed with a large grade 2 glioma in 2013. The musician, who plays in Isle of Wight Symphony Orchestra and various choral societies, had treatment to keep it at bay.

But it kept growing, so she started seriously considering surgery last year.

Dagmar’s tumour was located in the right frontal lobe of her brain, close to an area that controls the fine movement of her left hand - essential for playing the violin.

She explained to her surgeon (who holds a degree in music and is an accomplished pianist) how she was worried she's lose her skill if she had surgery. Prof Ashkan and the neurosurgical team at King’s devised a plan.

They spent two hours carefully mapping her brain to identify areas that were active when she played the violin. They also discussed the idea of waking Dagmar mid-procedure so she could play.

This would ensure the surgeons did not damage any crucial areas of the brain that controlled Dagmar’s delicate hand movements.

With her agreement, a team of surgeons, anaesthetists and therapists went on to meticulously plan the procedure.

Following the procedure Prof Ashkan said, "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.

"We managed to remove over 90 percent of the tumour, including all the areas suspicious of aggressive activity, while retaining full function in her left hand."

Three days after the procedure, Dagmar was well enough to go home to her family.