Date
23 October 2017
Roger Frisch plays a violin while doctors insert a tiny electrode into his brain to treat abdnormal brain signals. Photo: Mail Online/EverydayHealth
Roger Frisch plays a violin while doctors insert a tiny electrode into his brain to treat abdnormal brain signals. Photo: Mail Online/EverydayHealth

Concert violinist fiddles during brain surgery

When Roger Frisch went into surgery after being diagnosed with a tremor, which causes sections of the brain that control movement to send abnormal signals, it was too small doctors could not pinpoint its exact location.

Frisch’s condition was so mild that in many other line of work, he might have been able to ignore it.

But as a concert violinist, it threatened his career.

The procedure required a tiny electrode to be implanted into his brain at exactly the point where the irregular signals were being sent, Mail Online reports.

The problem was the deep brain stimulation procedure, as it is called, is experimental and needs the kind of accuracy found only in more advanced surgical techniques.

Solution: use Frisch’s violin bow to help determine where the tremor was by fitting it with accelerometers to graphically reproduce the signals on a computer screen.

So while Frisch fiddled during the procedure, doctors bore away.

It was as success, surgically and musically.

Frisch ended up with a new tool in his instrument box: a remote-control switch that operates the electrode in his brain, preventing him from going out of tune. 

Just months after the operation, Frisch went back to his job as associate concertmaster with the Minnesota Orchestra.

And by all accounts, he is making music like nothing happened.

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RA

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