Friday , October 22 2021

Teen Recovering After Singing His Way Through Brain Surgery


Kira Iaconetti was only 6 years old when he began performing in musicals. Four years ago, she began to realize that she could no longer sing, was deaf and could not sing the words in the rhythm of the song. ( Seattle Children's Hospital | YouTube )

It was about four years ago when Kira Iaconetti, 19, suddenly noticed strange changes when she sang or listened to music. As it turns out, there was a marble-sized mass in her brain affecting her musical abilities.

Love for music

Kira Iaconetti is a self-taught musician who was only 6 years old when he started performing in musicals. However, about four years ago, she realized that she was suddenly deaf, and was having difficulty singing the words of a song in tune with the music.

At first, she thought it was something that every serious artist experienced, but decided to look for a neurologist when the strange episodes became more remarkable and she was stuttering and stammering her words after each episode.

Epilepsy Musicology

It was then that magnetic resonance imaging at Seattle Children's Hospital revealed that Iaconetti had a marble-sized mass in the right temporal lobe. Specifically, it was discovered that the tumor was pressing on his auditory cortex.

According to neurosurgeon Dr. Jason Hauptman, the tumor was discovered because of the unusual type of Iaconetti's epilepsy, called musicogenic epilepsy, in which seizures would be triggered by music.

Brain surgery

Doctors knew that removing the tumor could affect the adolescent's singing ability and also knew how important it was to her as an artist. As such, the surgery team at Seattle Children's Hospital took a customized approach to planning their surgery so that they could remove the brain tumor and preserve their musical abilities.

Using advanced technology and with the help of various specialists, including a music therapist, the doctors performed an agreed craniotomy to remove the tumor. After removing a small part of her skull, the doctors woke Iaconetti and had her sing while they were performing the surgery. Through this, doctors were able to know which parts of their brain were an integral part of their musical abilities and avoided them. Some members of the crew even sang with her while she sang "Weezer's Island in the Sun."

Road to Recovery

Fortunately, doctors discovered that the tumor was a low-grade glioma, and that she was unlikely to need further treatment.

Iaconetti was able to sing and play guitar only 48 hours after surgery, and is already eyeing his next audition.

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