A Novel Way to Watch Brain Surgery

June 2, 2013



Live tweeting a health procedure may be fascinating, but it isn’t a new concept. The patient simply gives an okay and someone in the operating room uses a specific hashtag to tweet during the operation. Videoing a procedure isn’t new, either – outlets like UStream allow anyone with a camera and Internet connection to quickly broadcast to a global audience.

Both certainly have enormous potential for hospitals and patients, providing a new outlet to build the facility’s brand and comfort potential new patients getting a similar procedure. But seeing a video of a bunch of doctors and nurses hovering over a sleeping patient can become mundane very quickly.

What about adding showbiz to the mix? For the first time, a patient – and actor and musician – actually entertained others via social media while he was undergoing brain surgery! Brad Carter was getting a brain pacemaker implanted to help treat tremors he was experiencing. Using both Twitter and Vine video-sharing tweets, Carter – who was awake during the procedure – played the guitar while physicians at UCLA Medical Center tested his motor skills. Doctors turned the stimulator on to determine where the tremor went away. The guitar-playing helped the doctors find that right spot as Carter’s dexterity improved greatly during and after the brain-stimulation portion of the surgery.

The medical team posted live updates as well as videos on social media, making it one out-of-the-ordinary public event. More importantly, it may help alleviate future patients’ fear of something as big as brain surgery.