A VIOLINIST from the Isle of Wight played the instrument while surgeons removed a tumour from her brain.

The unusual approach was taken at King’s College Hospital in London to ensure areas of her brain responsible for delicate hand movement and coordination — crucial when playing violin — were not inadvertently damaged during the millimetre-precise procedure.

Watch the video below.

Dagmar Turner, 53, a former management consultant, was diagnosed in 2013 with a large grade two (slow growing) glioma after suffering a seizure during a symphony.

The committed violinist, who plays in Isle of Wight Symphony Orchestra and various choral societies, underwent biopsy and then radiotherapy to keep the tumour at bay.

When it became apparent in autumn 2019 that the tumour had grown and become more aggressive, Dagmar, who has a 13-year-old son, was keen for surgery to remove it.

Professor Keyoumars Ashkan, consultant neurosurgeon at King’s College Hospital, came highly recommended so a consultation was arranged to discuss her options.

Dagmar’s tumour was located in the right frontal lobe of her brain, close to an area that controls the fine movement of her left hand.

Precise and skilled use of this hand is essential for playing the violin as the fingers regulate the length of the strings by holding them against the fingerboard, producing different pitches.

Dagmar explained her love of the violin and was aware Professor Ashkan also had a passion for music.

After explaining concerns she had over losing the ability to play the violin, Professor Ashkan and the neurosurgical team devised a plan.

Prior to the operation they spent two hours carefully mapping the brain to identify areas active when she played the violin and those responsible for controlling language and movement.

They also discussed with Dagmar the idea of waking her mid-procedure so she could play.

This would ensure the surgeons did not damage any crucial areas of the brain that controlled Dagmar’s delicate hand movements specifically when playing the instrument.

During the operation, Dagmar was brought round from the anaesthetic and played violin while her tumour was removed.

Professor Ashkan said: “King’s is one of the largest brain tumour centres in the UK. We often rouse patients to carry out language tests, but this was the first time I’ve had a patient play an instrument.

“We knew how important the violin is to Dagmar so it was vital that we preserved function in the delicate areas of her brain that allowed her to play."

They managed to remove more than 90 per cent of the tumour, and retain full function in her left hand.

Dagmar said: “The violin is my passion. I’ve been playing since I was ten years old.

"The thought of losing my ability to play was heartbreaking but, being a musician himself, Professor Ashkan understood my concerns.

"Thanks to him and the team, I’m hoping to be back with my orchestra very soon.”

Three days after the procedure, Dagmar was well enough to go home.

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