A violinist with a brain tumor didn’t just fight for her life but also showed-off what she got. Dagmar Turner, a professional violinist, played her violin during brain surgery to avoid damage that might affect her musical abilities.
The 53-year-old knew she might lose her motor skills key to her music upon learning she has a tumor. However, surgeons asked her to play the violin during surgery to ensure that areas of her brain responsible for coordinating delicate movements wouldn’t be affected while removing the tumor.
The tumor, in her right frontal lobe, was close to areas of her brain that controls the micro-movements of Turner’s left hand. These areas play a vital role in playing the violin and in sports as well.
“The violin is my passion. I’ve been playing since I was 10 years old,” Turner said in a news release on Feb 18. “The thought of losing my ability to play was heart-breaking.”
Watch the video footage of Turner playing the violin during surgery below:
Turner was diagnosed in 2013 with a slow-growing tumor after suffering a seizure in one of her concerts. Eventually, she sought surgery in King’s College Hospital in London to ensure she wouldn’t lose her passion.
Meanwhile, the medical expert teams spent two hours mapping Turner’s brain before the procedure to know which areas were active upon playing the instrument.
Dr. Keyoumars Ashkan, the neurosurgeon of the violinist, came up with this creative novel approach and solution. “We perform around 400 resections (tumor removals) each year, which often involves rousing patients to carry out language tests, but this was the first time I’ve had a patient play an instrument,” he said in a news release.
In fact, the doctors managed to remove over 90% of her tumor successfully without any damage to Turner’s fine motor skills. She left the hospital three days after the surgery.
Turner plays the Isle of Wight Symphony Orchestra in Southern England.