Musical miracle as guitarist strums through brain op
BANGALORE, India — It sounds surreal, but a musician strummed on his guitar at a Bangalore hospital as doctors performed brain surgery on him to cure his crippled fingers of a rare movement disorder.
The successful operation — the first in India — was conducted recently by surgeons at the Bhagawan Mahaveer Jain Hospital on 37-year-old Abhishek Prasad who was fully awake during the surgery and gave live feedback to the doctors by playing the guitar.
Prasad, who had been suffering from “guitarist dystonia” for quite some time, has now been cured of the neurological disorder, said doctors.
Musician’s dystonia is caused by the brain sending incorrect information to the muscles and is characterized by involuntary, prolonged muscle contractions, which cause affected parts of the body to be twisted into abnormal postures, according to Britain’s Dystonia Society.
In fact, Prasad, who left his job in the information-technology sector to focus on playing guitar, developed musician’s dystonia that affected fingers on his left hand in 2015 and was forced to abandon his passion for some time.
“Three of the fingers of my left hand — middle, fourth and the little finger — used to get stiff and stuck while playing the guitar. I was not able to follow my passion due to this,” he told the media.
During the operation, surgeons made an incision in the skull and inserted a 9-centimeter electrode to burn parts of the brain causing the disorder.
As the brain has no ability to feel pain, only local anesthesia was applied to the skin, said doctors.
“Such surgeries require the patient to be awake and perform the function that is triggering the brain to misbehave. The idea is to gauge the patient’s reaction to the surgery as this disorder is specific to a task,” neurosurgeon Sharan Srinivasan said.
Prasad is a very happy man now and fully satisfied that he will be able to play guitar again.
“But now it’s a great feeling for both me and the doctors. It was a 100 percent result on the operating table,” he said.
“I’m very excited, finally now I can live my dream, can play my guitar again after one month of recovery.
“Now my fingers are completely listening to me.”