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Patient sings during first awake brain surgery in Vietnam

Tuesday, January 29, 2019, 16:11 GMT+7
Patient sings during first awake brain surgery in Vietnam
Doctors perform a brain surgery on a patient at Viet Duc University Hospital in Hanoi, January 28, 2019, in this screenshot taken from a video provided by the hospital.

A hospital in Hanoi on Monday performed Vietnam’s first brain surgery during which a patient sang in full alertness, in a procedure known as awake brain surgery or awake craniotomy.

The 36-year-old man sang two songs while doctors helped by two Japanese experts removed his brain tumor at Viet Duc University Hospital.

As the tumor was located in a brain region related to movement control and speech functions, a medical operation with the patient remaining completely unconscious under the effects of general anesthetic would make it impossible for surgeons to detect possible problems with the functions, according to Dong Van He, head of the infirmary’s neurosurgery department.

The hospital had tried to ready itself to perform this awake brain surgery since early 2018, He said.

In this type of procedure, the person to be under the knife will experience local, rather than general, anesthesia when a cut in the head skin is made.

The preparation included finding a suitable patient, who can use English to communicate with doctors during the procedure, as he or she might be uncooperative and hobble the process, He underlined.

The person chosen, who underwent Monday’s surgery, is a businessman whose brain tumor had not been excised as doctors feared adverse effects on his brain might pass unnoticed during a general anesthesia surgery.

Prior to the operation, the Vietnamese patient was shown a YouTube video of an Indian man playing the guitar during a brain surgery, He said.

“And during his own surgery, the businessman was asked by doctors to sing so that they would know whether his speech brain function was damaged at all,” he added.

The patient was considered to be awake and in good condition an hour after the surgery, according to the doctor.

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