Medical Minute 11-1: Fiddling During Brain Surgery

By: Melissa Medalie Email
By: Melissa Medalie Email

Roger Frisch is a professional concertmaster.

"I can truthfully say I love it as much now as when I first started," said Roger Frisch.

Two years ago, a tremor in his right hand shook his flawless tone.

"This might be the end of my career," he said.

He has essential tremor. Sections of the brain that control movement send abnormal signals.

Mayo Clinic Neurosurgeon Kendall Lee and a team of engineers created a special violin for Roger to play during surgery.

"So the bow of the violin had a wireless device so we could actually see the tremor," said Kendall H. Lee, M.D., Ph.D., Mayo Clinic Neurosurgeon Director.

They placed two electrodes in his brain, a process called deep brain stimulation. The sensor on the violin sends info to a computer - which told surgeons immediately if the stimulation works.

"When we inserted the second electrode we could see the tremor was gone by 95 percent," said Kendall Lee, M.D., Ph.D.

"It's night and day from before the surgery. During the surgery I could tell immediately," said Roger Frisch.

Dana Sparks Department Of Public Affairs Mayo Clinic(507) 538-0844Sparks.dana@mayo.edu


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