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Surgeon asks patient to sing during brain tumor operation

By Zhang Wenfang | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2018-10-11 19:14
Surgeons are applying awake craniotomy - a technique of removing a brain tumor while the patient is awake, on the patient to avoid damage to his brain's speech area at the Zhejiang Provincial People's Hospital, Sept 26, 2018. [Photo/Qianjiang Evening News]

A brain tumor patient sang a song during surgery not to relax but to cooperate with the surgeons carrying out the operation, the Paper.cn reported on Wednesday.

The patient surnamed Wang, 25, was diagnosed with a brain tumor three centimeter in diameter at the Zhejiang Provincial People's Hospital this September. Cutting-out the tumor is an effective treatment but the tricky thing is that the tumor grows close to the brain area that could affect one's ability to speak.

"Accidental cuts on brain's speech area will cause speech impairment but it is also undesirable not to cut it clean," said Lou, Wang's main surgeon.

Speech impairment would surely be a blow for Wang since he likes reading and singing.

For the good of the patient, Lou and his medical team decided to apply awake craniotomy - a technique of removing a brain tumor while the patient is awake, and asking him to sing a song after he wakes up from anesthesia.

In this way, the surgeons were able to monitor whether their move was affecting the brain's speech area.

"If there were changes in his singing such as short pauses, it meant that we were touching the speech area and we should keep our surgical tools away from it," Lou said.

The surgery was performed on Sept 26. The surgeons opened the skull and exposed the tumor of the patient in general anesthesia. Then, they reduced the dose of anesthesia to awake him and asked him to start singing.

In his singing of My Lost Happiness, a popular song of Chinese singer Angela Chang, the surgeons quickly took out the tumor completely and accurately on September 26.

When the procudure was done, the surgeons increased the dose of anesthesia again and began to stitch up the cut.

Wang recovered well after the operation and no speech impairment was detected. He is going to be discharged from the hospital on Thursday.

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