Awakey Breaky Head…(Part Two)

Would you like to start your working week by watching examples of the same type of Hannibal Surgery that I had, as I described in Awakey Breaky Head…?

If so, you’re in the right place! Today I can offer you two links to five videos.

Classical Brain Surgery

There are four videos on classic fm’s website here. While you might think that classic fm is not an obvious choice for videos of brain surgery, it makes sense when the headline of the article is: “These musicians keep on making music… in the middle of major surgery“. After Mr H had first mentioned an Awake Craniotomy, I wrote in Cautiously Optimistic: The Deleted Scenes:

Graham suggested to me afterwards that they might get me to play the guitar to monitor the function in my hand and arm as that’s apparently something these crazy brain surgeons might do. It would certainly be a novel way to assess any deterioration in my brain function by evaluating my ability to play an instrument I’ve never played!

Well, it turns out that the Silver Fox was right in that some talented musicians are indeed asked to strut their stuff during Awake brain surgery. I haven’t watched every minute of every video but I have watched a minute or so of each. There’s a singer, a saxophonist and two violinists. The singer’s video is particularly interesting (and a little bit freaky) at 2:40, when “the doctors probe an area which shouldn’t be disturbed” and his singing is dramatically affected.

Scotland the Brave

Last night’s episode of “Scotland’s Superhospital” featured, among other things, an Awake Craniotomy. Although I haven’t watched the whole episode, there’s a clip of just over a minute long available on BBC iPlayer here, which is sufficient to give you a flavour. The video is available until the end of the month. (Sorry to those who don’t have access to iPlayer.)

Same Difference

The main similarities and differences between the surgeries shown in the clips and mine are:

  1. My position – I was facing slightly off-centre slightly to the left and more upright than anyone in the videos. I was slightly more propped up than even the saxophonist. The position is determined by the location of the tumour and the direction from which the surgeon is going to access it.
  2. Choice of Drapes – I didn’t see any plastic sheeting from my vantage point and Mr H hadn’t mentioned anything. I did see what Mr H had described as “drapes”. The surgical drapes looked like they were made from the same material as surgical scrubs, much like in the video of the singer.
  3. Location of Drapes – The extent of the canopy was limited on both sides during my surgery, much like the near side of the singer’s surgery. What I could see in the operating theatre was therefore limited mostly by the extent of my peripheral vision given that my head was pinned into place!
  4. Actions – I wasn’t asked to sing or play any instruments during my surgery!!


I still wish I had a video of my surgery. Alas, you can’t have everything!



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