Patient plays violin to save her music as surgeons remove brain tumor

LONDON (Reuters) – A patient at a British hospital played the violin while a tumor was removed from her brain so that surgeons could preserve her ability to play music and her 40-year passion for the instrument.

Dagmar Turner, 53, a former management consultant from the Isle of Wight, played her violin during an operation to remove a tumor from the right frontal lobe of her brain – close to the area that controls the fine movement of her left hand.

To prevent any damage to her violin skills, Professor Keyoumars Ashkan, Consultant Neurosurgeon at King’s College Hospital, came up with a plan: they would map her brain, open the skull and then get her to play as they removed the tumor.

“This was the first time I’ve had a patient play an instrument,” said Ashkan. “We managed to remove over 90 percent of the tumor, including all the areas suspicious of aggressive activity, while retaining full function in her left hand.”

Dagmar thanked the surgeons.

“The violin is my passion; I’ve been playing since I was 10 years old,” he said. “The thought of losing my ability to play was heart-breaking.”

The hospital did not say what music Dagmar had played.

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Alison Williams

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