Musician Plays Guitar While Undergoing Brain Surgery

Musician Christian Nolen deftly strummed his guitar while undergoing awake brain surgery to remove a glioma at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center in Miami, Florida. Because the doctors needed to monitor his dexterity, Nolen had to remain awake and use his fingers. This surgery was pivotal in saving Nolen’s ability to use his hand and continue playing music.

Christian has a primary brain tumor. It’s called a glioma. It was in a difficult location. It was involving what’s called the hand/motor area, the part of the brain that controls hand function. Without treatment this tumor would have grown into that hand area and he would have lost the ability eventually to use that hand.

Like other patients in similar situations, Nolen found that playing his instrument was the best way to do that. He also knew that this would be a truly unique experience.

I started playing guitar at 13 years old. It was like an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up, because I was just like, you’re never going to be able to do something like this again. 

via My Modern Met

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.