Home / Inspiration / Musician Plays Saxophone While Undergoing 9-Hour Long Surgery for Brain Cancer

Musician Plays Saxophone While Undergoing 9-Hour Long Surgery for Brain Cancer

By Andrew Alpin, 18 November 2022

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7 The surgery progressed smoothly thanks to his music

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It was reported that the patient’s music helped the surgery go well. He played the theme song from the 1970 movie “Love Story” and the Italian national anthem, which helped surgeons see how his brain worked at different times.

Brogna said, “When we operate on the brain, we are operating on the sense of self, so we need to make sure that we do not damage the patient as a person: their personality, the way they feel emotions, the way they get through life. The patient will tell you what is important in his life, and it is your job to protect his wishes.”

Brogna said that the surgery required a lot of planning and cutting-edge technology. “Paideia International Hospital is equipped not only with the technology I needed but also with a 100-square-meter operating room, and we also had the opportunity to organize a tailor-made team for this intervention,” he added.

The surgery progressed smoothly thanks to his music

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6 A specialized team, along with specialized equipment for the surgery

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Brogna chose ten professionals from hospitals all over the world to be on his team. These professionals included neurosurgeons, anesthesiologists, neuropsychologists, neurophysiologists, and engineers. Specialized tools like neuronavigation with tractography, ultrasound aspirators, and intraoperative ultrasound were needed for the surgery.

A specialized team, along with specialized equipment for the surgery

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5 A specialized tracer was used to distinguish between cancer cells and healthy cells

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A tracer was used to tell the cancer cells apart from the healthy cells around them. During the operation, G. Z. was constantly checked to make sure his brain was functioning optimally.

A specialized tracer was used to distinguish between cancer cells and healthy cells

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4 A very accurate map of the neuronal networks can be constructed during awake surgery

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Brogna said that each person’s brain is very different from another’s because of the brain’s “complex architecture” and “remarkable plasticity.” With awake surgery, it’s possible to make a very accurate map of the neuronal networks that control brain functions like playing, talking, moving, remembering, and counting.

He said, “Every awake surgery not only allows [us] to obtain the maximum result in terms of removal of the pathology, but it is a real discovery. Each time, it offers us a window into the functioning of this fascinating, but still in many ways mysterious organ, which is the brain.”

A very accurate map of the neuronal networks can be constructed during awake surgery

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