- An awake brain surgery was live-streamed on Facebook on Tuesday morning.
- A tangled ball of blood vessels had affected the patient’s ability to talk, so doctors had to map out the speech areas by asking her to read out some basic words and pictures shown on an iPad.
- The patient was eager to have her surgery live-streamed so it would help others who must endure brain surgery.
A woman’s so-called awake brain surgery was broadcast live on Facebook on Tuesday morning.
The staff at Methodist Dallas Medical Center operated on 25-year-old Jenna Schardt to remove a tangled ball of blood vessels — which had caused seizures and affected her ability to talk.
Schardt had to stay awake for part of the operation so doctors could ensure that no critical brain functions were being damaged.
Schardt’s neurosurgeon, Dr. Bartley Mitchell, explained, “If we go into the wrong spot, that could cost her the ability to speak, so that’s why we have to map out the speech areas first before we go on. We have to physically map them out on the brain while she’s awake and talking to us.”
After Schardt was put under anesthesia, doctors cut into her skull.
When they reached the brain, the surgeons woke her up and instructed her to read out some basic words and pictures shown on an iPad. An inability to speak, or a mistake, would alert the surgeons and provide crucial information.
Dr. Nimesh Patel explained during the live-stream, “We need to find the places we need to avoid.”
The brain mapping didn’t hurt Schardt as the brain’s surface has no pain receptors.
More than 2,300 people logged in to watch the live-stream.
Schardt believed that having her surgery live-streamed would help others who must endure brain surgery.
In a video posted by the hospital before the surgery, Schardt remarked, “It is cool that they can do that. I would rather have me be awake and speaking so they can hit the right areas.”
Schardt was pursuing a master’s degree in occupational therapy and was helping stroke victims with their recovery when she experienced stroke-like symptoms.
She recalled, “All of a sudden during the middle of a conversation, I just couldn’t speak any more.”
Doctors discovered that a mass of blood vessels in the part of her brain had affected her ability to talk.
Doctors have been conducting successful awake brain surgeries for years. In 2018, doctors at the Seattle Children’s Hospital conducted a brain surgery on a teenage singer while she was singing to ensure that the procedure would not damage her musical abilities.
Source: NBC News