High note

Significant scene, if successful, with surgeons at King's College Hospital in London able to remove, in a complicated brain surgery this week, a tumor from a 53-year-old woman violinist who had been battling the disease since 2013.

High note

The doctors had mapped Dagmar Turner's brain before the surgery to identify areas that were active when she played the violin and those responsible for controlling language and movement.

Prof. Keyoumars Ashkan, her neurosurgeon and a musician himself who plays the piano, had said: “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.”

The doctors were able to remove more than 90 percent of the tumor, discovered after she suffered a seizure during a symphony, “including all the areas suspicious of aggressive activity, while retaining full function in her left hand.”

Turner, who played music by Gustav Mahler, George Gershwin’s jazz classic Summertime and pieces by Spanish songwriter and singer Julio Iglesias during the surgery, plays in Isle of Wight Symphony Orchestra and various choral societies.

She is high in her hope as in her music she will be able to return to her orchestra before long, while praising the efforts of Ashkan, her fellow music lover.

Said Turner: “The thought of losing my ability to play was heart-breaking but, being a musician himself, Prof. Ashkan understood my concerns. He and the team at King's went out of their way to plan the operation—from mapping my brain to planning the position I needed to be in to play.”

Interesting, the surgical scale, as it were, with doctors opening Turner's skull while she was under anesthesia, then woke her up and asked her to play while the tumor was removed.

The hospital had said the tumor was located “in right frontal lobe of her brain, close to an area that controls the fine movement of her left hand” which Turner, whose passion is her instrument she has been playing since age 10, uses to play the violin.

With her recovery, let the symphonic orchestra play once more da capo al fine.

Topics: Dagmar Turner , King's College Hospital , Keyoumars Ashkan , Piano , Orchestra

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