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"Awake Brain Surgery" at Mayo Clinic in Arizona

Posted at 6:26 AM, Nov 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-21 08:26:45-05

Patients playing the piano during brain surgery? It's called "Awake Brain Surgery," and it's growing in popularity at Mayo Clinic.

The patient is asleep for most of the procedure and doesn't feel any pain. It is especially helpful when removing brain tumors where the goal is to preserve function and minimize the long-term effects.

"We can actually stimulate the brain to get information electrically and by watching the patient's function as to what part of the brain controls what," said Dr. Bernard Bendok, who chairs the Department of Neurosurgery at Mayo Clinic.

Mayo Clinic performs several "awake" surgeries each month and up to 40 per year.