A jazz musician battling brain tumor played his guitar amid medical
procedure in South Africa, leaving many bewildered. Instrumentalist Musa Manzini, from South Africa, played a few notes amid the fruitful activity.
According to one of the neurosurgeons, Dr. Rohen Harrichandparsad, the playing of the guitar helped guide surgeons in their delicate task whilst ‘preserving natural pathways’.
Mr Manzini was given local anaesthetic by doctors during the procedure, also known as an ‘awake craniotomy’ at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital in Durban.
Dr Harrichandparsad said: ‘It increased the margin of safety for us, in that we could have real-time feedback on what we were doing intraoperatively’.
The procedure is not uncommon with several other cases in other countries where musicians played an instrument or sang during similar operations.
Doctors said they wanted to test Mr Manzini’s ‘ability to produce music’ during surgery, which requires the complex interaction of pathways in the brain, the doctor said.
Mr Manzini was only given the instrument toward the end of the procedure, as doctors sought to check that everything was in order. A photo and video taken by the medical team shows the musician lying with his guitar in the operating room.
‘There you are, do your thing,’ a team member says as he begins playing.
In an ‘awake craniotomy,’ some doctors choose to stimulate parts of the brain with a mild electrical current as a way of testing and mapping areas that control key functions of the brain such as movement and speech. If it a patient is struggling to speak when the current is applied to a particular area, doctors know they must protect it during tumour removal.
Despite the name of the procedure, patients are given medication to make them sleepy during parts of the lengthy operation. In 2015, a musician played his saxophone during brain surgery in Spain, while an opera singer sang during a brain operation in the Netherlands in 2014.
Dr. Basil Enicker, another neurosurgeon who operated on Mr Manzini, said 90 percent of the tumour was removed and that the musician was at home near Durban and doing well.
‘Our main aim was to make sure that we do the best that we can for our patient,’ Enicker said.
He added that the response from the public to news of the operation was ‘pleasantly surprising’.