Jazz Musician Plays Guitar Through Brain Surgery to Preserve His Talent

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When doctors needed to figure out which parts of the brain jazz musician Musa Manzini uses to play, they gave him a guitar during brain surgery

Manzini, a musician in South Africa, was kept awake during surgery to remove a brain tumor earlier this month so doctors at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital in Durban could preserve the parts of the brain he needs. 

While they delicately probed the musician's brain to make sure he still had use of the fine motor skills needs for his career, Manzini strummed his beloved guitar.  

“The decision to perform an awake craniotomy rather than one under general anaesthesia was motivated by [doctors' concerns] to preserve and restore my finger movements, taking into consideration my career as a musician,” Manzini told IOL, a South African news site. 

It may seem odd, but it's actually fairly common practice for doctors to keep their patients awake in surgery when dealing with the brain. Nineteen-year-old Kira Iaconetti sang her way through brain surgery at Seattle Children's Hospital last month so doctors could make sure they didn't damage regions of the brain important to her future singing career.

In Manzini's case, he admitted the surgery was uncomfortable, but it's a small price to pay to continue to pursue his dreams


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