Anna Henry, a musician who was suffering from the common and benign movement disorder called essential tremor, decided to undergo deep brain stimulation to calm the effects of the disorder. The surgery took place at the Memorial Hermann-TMC in Houston Texas, where, after the doctors inserted electrodes into her brain, a wide awake Henry played her flute to show them that her hands were completely steady.
Prior to the surgery … Henry could barely sign her name …But after the electrodes were placed in her brain and the thalamus was stimulated, Henry’s hand was still and stable, without a single detectable tremor. When she signed her name a second time, each pen stroke was smooth and clean. …The surgical team handed Henry her flute to test if her hands were stable enough to play. As she remained on the operating bed, she lifted her flute to her mouth and treated everyone in the operating room not only to a sweet melody, but the joy of seeing her tremor disappear.
Because patients need to stay awake during the surgery, other musicians have taken advantage of the time to perform. A Brazilian musician undergoing brain surgery previously played songs by The Beatles on his guitar while a Dutch opera singer performed an aria during a craniotomy and a saxophonist played the song “Misty” while undergoing tumor removing surgery.