Banjo playing during brain surgery


Banjo player Eddie Adcock recently had brain surgery where surgeons installed deep brain stimulator electrodes to control a tremor in his right hand. Patients are sometimes kept awake during brain surgery to interact with the surgeon and help guide the procedure. In Adcock's case, he played the banjo as the surgeon worked. From Eddie and Martha Adcock's site:
Now you can truly call Eddie Adcock the Bionic Banjo Player --and don't forget Gearhead Guitarist-- as he recovers from some remarkable brain surgeries to control a right-hand tremor.

The three-part surgery, termed Deep Brain Stimulation, involved implantation of electrodes into the brain as well as insertion of a palm-sized battery-powered generator within the chest wall, plus lead wires to connect the two. The technologically-advanced procedure was performed in multiple stages over the month of August in Nashville, Tennessee, at Vanderbilt Medical Center, a teaching and research hospital which is a world leader in neurological studies and surgeries.

Those neurosurgeons were eager to operate on Eddie, with his life-long high level of musical accomplishment and the unique requirements related to his fine motor skills. During the brain-implantation stage of the surgery, he was kept conscious in order to be able to play his Deering GoodTime banjo and assist the team of surgeons in directing the fine-tuning of their placement of electrodes in the brain -- an operating-room 'first'.

According to Eddie, "I came up in music the hard way and learned to be a trouper fast. Some of those early days were pretty rough, and I've been stomped, cut and kicked; but I never went through hell like this -- it was the most painful thing I've ever endured. And it was risky. But I did it for a reason: I'm looking forward to being able to play music the way I did years ago prior to getting this tremor. It means that much to me. I'm far from being done!"
Brain surgery and the banjo player (Thanks, Sean Ness!)