woman plays violin during brain surgery
Naomi Elishuv plays violin during brain surgeryScreenshot/Youtube

A world-class violinist in the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra, Naomi Elishuv was diagnosed with essential tremor over 20 years ago. To her utter disappointment, she had to stop playing the violin professionally owing to uncontrollable shaking caused by the neurological disorder.

However, on Tuesday, 9 September, the surgeons at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Centre, Israel, conducted the Deep Brain Stimulation surgery on Elishuv. Prof. Itzhak Fried head of functional neurosurgery unit and Dr. Ido Strauss staff neurosurgeon at the Neurosurgery department inserted an electrode into her brain, which emits impulses that suppress her shakes.

This particular brain surgery was trickier than the others, because the medical team needed Elishuv to play the violin while they were performing the surgery on her, so that the doctors could make sure they were positioning the electrodes to stop the tremors in the correct position. And so, Elishuv, who was given a local anaesthetic and kept conscious during the operation, played Tchaikovsky for the medical staff as they worked on her brain.

The 56- second video posted by Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center on their YouTube channel under the title "Violinist Undergoes DBS" shows Elishuv playing the violin a day before the surgery and just before the DBS implantation, with her hands clearly shaking.

When Elishuv starts playing the violin after the DBS implantation, there is a noticeable lack of shaking and her tremor seems to have disappeared. A clearly ecstatic Elishuv tells her surgeon "I have control!"

"My greatest love was playing the violin, but unfortunately, until today, I have had to make do with teaching," she told the Telegraph. "I want to play, to sign a paper, to drink tea without spilling it. [I'm] finally returning to life."

"It's a shame that I only heard about the surgery recently. I am now finally returning to life," Elishuv told the staff of Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center.

The Department of Neurosurgery of the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, headed by Prof. Zvi Ram specializes in treating disorders of the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nervous system in children and adults.

Watch the inspirational video of Naomi Elishuv playing Tchaikovsky during her own brain surgery here: