Patient Plays Guitar During Brain Surgery To Treat Parkinson’s

Brad Carter Plays Guitar During Brain Surgery To Treat Parkinson’s

To mark Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center’s 500th deep brain stimulation operation last Thursday, surgeons performed the world’s first live-Vined brain surgery.

The operation, which lead neurologist Dr. Nader Pouratian described as “textbook” brain pacemaker implant surgery, was documented with Vine, a six-second video medium, and with Instagram photos on the hospital’s Twitter account in real time on patient Brad Carter, an actor diagnosed with the progressive neurological disorder essential tremor in 2006.

“Not everyone gets to experience a surgery, and more specifically an awake brain surgery,” Pouratian said in a phone interview with The Huffington Post. “I thought it was a great opportunity to share with the world.”

Deep brain stimulation is a therapy for people with Parkinson’s disease, that  involves inserting a pacemaker that emits electronic impulses to affected areas of the brain, lessening tremor symptoms. At UCLA, the patient is conscious during the surgery and is asked to perform tests so that doctors can ensure the pacemaker is properly placed.

Carter’s disease made his hands shake and his eyes twitch, affecting his ability to play the guitar. He had asked that he be allowed to strum his guitar during the operation to see if the pacemaker improved his playing ability.
Vine videos from the surgery show Carter’s guitar skills get stronger as physicians located the best place to leave the pacemaker.