Woman Plays Flute...While Having Brain Surgery



Anna Henry raised the flute to her mouth, took a deep breath and recalled from memory the notes of one of her favorite classical concertos. Her fingers flitted over the keys as she slowly, carefully played each note. After she finished the song, the room burst into applause.

But this wasn’t a typical concert performance.


Henry, 63, was lying on her back on an operating room table surrounded by doctors and nurses. Part of her scalp was peeled back to expose her skull. Surgeons had drilled two nickel-sized holes into her skull and inserted a tiny 1.3 mm-thick electrode into both sides of her brain where her thalamus is located.

Anna Henry lies on her back on an operating room table with a metal frame around her head as she is prepped for surgery.
The surgical procedure, called deep brain stimulation, is used to treat the neurological symptoms of certain movement disorders. Surgeons implant tiny electrodes into the brain to deliver a constant electric current that significantly reduces movement and neuropsychiatric issues.

“Deep brain stimulation is a really fantastic tool in how we can modulate a perturbed, dysfunctional system in the brain and make it more normal,” said Albert Fenoy, M.D., neurosurgeon with the Mischer Neuroscience Institute at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center and UTHealth, who specializes in the procedure.


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Did she play the jazz flute as well as Ron Burgandy?

Skin flute