The pioneering surgery is called cerebral monitoring, and it allows surgeons to avoid damaging areas of the brain that control sensory perception, motor, and speech functions. Although technically challenging for the whole surgery team, Brazilian doctors have used the practice 19 times to map a patient’s brain functions during surgery.
Kulkamp played six songs during his brain surgery, including “Yesterday” and “Emanuel,” a song he wrote for his newborn son, along with several Brazilian country songs, according to the New York Daily News.
“My right hand was a bit weaker, because that was the side they were operating on. So I stopped and rested, I was interspersing songs and talking with them.”
It might sound unusual for a patient to even begin contemplating playing guitar during brain surgery, but doctors say it is possible. Dr. Jean Abreu Machado told the Telegraph that brain tissue doesn’t have pain sensors like the skin.
“At this point, the anesthetist’s challenge begins: to keep the patient awake and pain-free.”
Kulkamp, a bank worker who has been playing professional guitar for 20 years, discovered the tumor in his brain 15 days before his son was born. It caused him to stammer and shake and affected his memory so badly he couldn’t remember the kind of car he drove. That’s when he went to the hospital for help, and the doctors there recommended the revolutionary procedure.
During his surgery, Kulkamp got in good spirits by talking and joking with the doctors.
“The doctors asked me to repeat one of the country songs so I even had an encore.”
He is due to be discharged Thursday.
As outrageous as it sounds, this isn’t the first time a patient has been asked to play an instrument while doctors operate on their brain. Last year, a concert level violinist played during his brain surgery so doctors could map his cerebral functions as they implanted electrodes in his skull to stop him from shaking, according to the Inquisitr. Called deep brain stimulation, the practice is meant to improve the condition of patients with a tremor and it enabled this violinist to return to the stage.
Maybe the two should get together for a duet.
[Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images]