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Musician Plays His Guitar During Brain Surgery

By The Hyperhive


12 July 2024

Brain Surgery Guitar

WSVN-TV / YouTube

In an extraordinary medical and musical feat, Florida guitarist Christian Nolen has captured global attention by playing guitar during brain surgery.

This unique event took place at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine. It’s where Nolen’s musical skills were utilized to monitor his motor functions while removing a tumor. He played some of his favorite rock riffs Fox News reported.

Playing Guitar During Brain Surgery

Nolen’s journey began after a knock during a live show led to a loss of feeling on the left side of his body. He was unable to raise his left arm above his waist, and his face began to drag.

After a medical evaluation, doctors diagnosed him with a glioma—a type of brain tumor. The tumor was located in the right frontal lobe which controls movement and other cognitive abilities.

Brain Surgery Guitar
WSVN-TV / YouTube

Facing the necessity of surgery, Nolen was presented with an unusual proposition by Dr. Ricardo Komotar, the director of the University of Miami Brain Tumor Initiative. The surgical team asked Nolen to play his guitar during the procedure to help ensure his motor skills remained intact.

According to Fox News, during the procedure, Nolen said, “This is wild.”

The Surgery: A Musical and Medical Collaboration

Nolen underwent an awake craniotomy, a procedure where the patient is kept awake to allow surgeons to monitor brain functions in real-time. He was put to sleep initially as his skull was opened. Afterward, he was awakened during the tumor removal process to play his guitar. This allowed the surgical team to observe and protect his dexterity.

“It was just like out of this world, like, to just like wake up and have people actively working inside of your head. It’s kind of an insane feeling,” Nolen told WSVN.

Despite the overwhelming nature of the situation, Nolen remained calm and performed songs by Deftones and System of a Down. The surgical team monitored his movements closely, ensuring that no critical brain functions were compromised.

The Value of Multidisciplinary Care

Dr. Komotar highlighted the importance of a collaborative approach in such complex surgeries. “A case like this spotlights the value of multidisciplinary care. You can only do these types of surgeries at a place like Sylvester, where there’s a great neurosurgical team with neuro-anesthesiologists, great intensive care specialists, great oncologists—an amazing team of professionals working together.”

“Having the patient awake and playing guitar while we take out the tumor allows us to be as aggressive as possible, yet still maintain his quality of life and his manual dexterity,” added he.

Recovery and Reflection

The surgery was a success, and Nolen was discharged the following day. He has since returned home and is once again playing the guitar. Although he awaits the final pathology results, he is expected to undergo additional radiation and chemotherapy as follow-up treatment.

Brain Surgery Guitar
WSVN-TV / YouTube

Reflecting on the experience, Nolen expressed his amazement and gratitude. “I’d only really heard of procedures of that nature being done in shows and movies,” he told Fox News Digital. “I felt like it was such a unique experience that I couldn’t pass up—especially with my motor skills being on the line.”

A Story That Resonates

Nolen’s story has resonated deeply with both the medical and music communities. Even System of a Down’s Serj Tankian reacted to the news, expressing his astonishment on social media.

As Nolen continues his recovery, his story serves as an inspiring testament to the remarkable capabilities of modern medicine.

WSVN-TV / YouTube

Would you be able to go through something like this? Tell us in the comments!

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The Hyperhive

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