Jenna Schardt is a 25-year-old graduate student who will be live-streaming her brain surgery–while still awake–on Facebook. Specifically, her medical center, the Methodist Dallas Medical Center showed the surgery live on its Facebook page.
The surgeons had actually required Jenna to stay awake for some parts of the surgery so that they could make sure they weren’t accidentally damaging critical functions.
The surgery began with them putting Jenna under anesthesia.
Next, the surgeons cut into her skull.
After they got to her brain, they woke her up.
To help give her surgeons a clue that they were in the right area of her brain, they asked Jenna to say a series of words that they showed to her on an iPad:
Butterfly. Hello. Turtle. Twenty. Banana.
If Jenna had been unable to speak or if she had made mistake while reading, it would give her doctors critical information about how her brain was functioning.
“We have a GPS tracking system for the brain, and we need to find the places we need to avoid,” Dr. Nimesh Patel explained during the livestream. However, the brain mapping doesn’t hurt Jenna
If you missed the live stream, you can catch it here:
Methodist Live Awake Brain Surgery
Posted by Methodist Dallas Medical Center on Tuesday, October 29, 2019
Thousands tuned in to watch Jenna’s live surgery.
As of now, Jenna’s livestream video has been watched over 50,000 times and it’s estimated that 2,300+ people tuned in to watch the livestream.
If you missed it, you can catch it above.
Jenna is a student who’s studying occupation therapy. She was actually helping stroke patients recover when she starting having some of the same symptoms, specifically seizures.
“[The surgeons during the livestream] will wake me more up and they will start pushing on certain areas of my brain to see if I can speak or if that affects my motor, if I have drooping on one side of my face or my sensory, if I feel tingling,” Jenna explained, according to the New York Post.
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Jenna had a tangled ball of blood vessels that had affected her ability to talk and was causing seizures. Jenna’s career in occupational therapy meant that she’d been focusing on helping stroke patients with the very same neurological problems she was experiencing herself. While working at North Texas rehabilitation center, officials said she suddenly lost the ability to speak, according to Heavy.
In the first few seconds of the above video, you can hear doctors say that typically these surgeries can be done while the patient is asleep, but because Jenna’s legions had become entangled and located right next to her speech area, they wanted to make sure they kept their speech area as preserved as possible. The doctors kept her awake to see what areas of her brain were connected to her speech as they tested them (this is called mapping), and after this procedure, they entered into the brain to perform the surgery.
According to NBC News, Jenna was perfectly okay with getting her brain surgery live-streamed to the world because she thinks it can really help others who have to undergo brain surgery. According to Heavy, During the surgery, while Schardt was awake, she worked with neurosurgeons, Dr. Randall Graham, Dr. Bartley Mitchell, and a large operating room team, to detail to viewers what was happening.
LIVE BRAIN SURGERY: 25-year-old Jenna Schardt is undergoing brain surgery to remove a mass of blood vessels in her brain, and she wants the public to be there with her.
Posted by WFLA News Channel 8 on Tuesday, October 29, 2019
Neurosurgeons Dr. Randall Graham performed the surgery with Dr. Bartley Mitchell.
Dr. Mitchell said that if the procedure doesn’t well, Jenna could lose her ability to speak altogether.
“This is going to be close,” Dr. Mitchell said in the video. “So that’s why we have to map out the speech area first before we go in – and to do that, we have to physically map them out on the brain while she’s awake and talking to us.”
“The brain surface doesn’t have any pain receptors,” Graham told the Dallas Morning News. “The part with all the pain receptors is the scalp, skull and some of the soft tissues surrounding the brain.”
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