According to WSVN Miami, the man, whose name is Christian Nolen, underwent an awake craniotomy at the University of Miami’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. The procedure involves the removal of part of the skull in order to access the brain, and then the bone is replaced after the surgery [via Johns Hopkins Medicine]. This Miami medical facility, in particular, reportedly performs over 200 craniotomies a year, which is more than anywhere else in the U.S.
As WSVN pointed out, not only was Nolen awake during the surgery, but he actually played songs by System of a Down and Deftones on a guitar during it.
“It was just like out of this world, like, to just like wake up and like have people actively working inside of your head. It’s kind of an insane feeling,” Nolen told the news outlet of the experience.
Why Nolen Was Playing Guitar During Brain Surgery
Apparently, Nolen sustained an injury during a concert, and afterward he started noticing that he lost feeling in the left side of his body from the waist up, and it was even affecting his face. Dr. Ricardo Komotar, a neurosurgeon and director of the University of Miami’s Brain Tumor Program, discovered that Nolen had a tumor in his brain.
“These types of tumors, if you don’t have the ability to remove the tumor with the patient awake, actually become much more dangerous,” Komotar explained.
Thus, although Nolen was asleep during the beginning and end of the surgery, he was awake during some of the middle of it.
“Having the patient awake and playing guitar while we take out the tumor allows us to be as aggressive as possible, yet still maintain his quality of life and his manual dexterity,” Komotar added.
Nolen still has some treatments and therapy ahead of him as he recovers from the surgery, but he’s thankful to be able to play guitar and lead an active lifestyle again.
Serj Tankian Reacts
We aren’t quite sure which songs Nolen played during his surgery, but various sources in addition to WSVN-TV, including Fox News Digital [via NME], reported that Nolen recalled playing songs by both System and Deftones.
Watch a video, which features footage of Nolen’s mid-surgery guitar performance, below.
Florida Man Plays System of a Down + Deftones on Guitar While Undergoing Brain Surgery
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Gallery Credit: Philip Trapp