Teen Sings Through Brain Surgery to Help Doctors Preserve Her Musical Ability

She had been previously diagnosed with music-triggered epilepsy caused by a tumor in her brain.

A 19-year-old musician sang her way through brain surgery so doctors could make sure they preserved her talent. 

Kira Iaconetti has always hoped to pursue a career in musical theater, but when doctors diagnosed her with music-triggered epilepsy caused by a tumor pressing on her auditory cortex, she worried she'd never sing again.

“It just [felt] like a light switch switches in my brain and suddenly I’m tone deaf. I can’t sing. I can’t process the words in time with the music,” Iaconetti said.

When doctors at Seattle Children's Hospital decided to operate, they wanted to ensure they didn’t ruin her career dreams. Doctors had the teen sing during her surgery, as they identified areas of her brain to avoid while removing the tumor.

“Our focus is not only on taking care of the tumor, [it's] about making her life better and preserving the things she cares about,” said Jason Hauptman, a pediatric neurosurgeon.

Two days later, Iaconetti was already back to doing what she loves — singing.