Violinist Plays Violin During Brain Surgery to Maintain Motor Function

Dagmar Turner is a 53-year old violinist from the Isle of Wight. Back in 2013, she suffered a seizure during a symphony and was diagnosed with a large, slow-growing glioma. In 2019, the tumor had grown and become more aggressive, so she chose to have the tumor removed.

To make sure her finer motor functions remain intact, she did something wild: playing the violin during the surgery!

The Violin Is Her Passion

Dagmar Turner is a committed violinist. She plays in many choral societies and the Isle of Wight Symphony Orchestra. After years of keeping the illness at bay through radiotherapy, it became clear in 2019 that the tumor had to be removed.

Violinist Plays Violin During Brain Surgery to Maintain Motor Function

She had a consultation with Professor Keyoumars Ashkan to discuss her options. He is a highly-recommended neurosurgeon at King’s College Hospital, which performs around 400 tumor removals every year. Sometimes, the patients would be woken up to perform language tests, but this was the first time a patient played the violin during the procedure.

A Successful Surgery

The right frontal lobe of the brain controls fine motor functions, and Turner’s tumor was very close to the center that controls her fine left-hand functions. The precise use of both her hands is quite essential for her ability to play the violin. Being a music enthusiast himself, Professor Keyoumars Ashkan took the time to plan out the surgery carefully with his colleagues. Under the careful watch of a team of surgeons, therapists, and anesthesiologists, Turner was woken up during the procedure to play the violin, making sure her motor functions are ok.

Violinist Plays Violin During Brain Surgery to Maintain Motor Function

The operation was quite successful, and the skilled surgeons managed to remove over 90% of the tumor, while Turner even retained full functionality of her left hand. Being a violinist has been her passion since the age of 10, and, thanks to these fine surgeons, she’ll be back playing with her Symphonic Orchestra in no time!