How Brain Tumor Surgery Returned a Piano Player to His Passion

7Dr. Stephen Krahn first noticed numbness in his right thumb when his symptoms affected his ability to play a keyboard. A master pianist who had felt most at home in front of an instrument since the age of 7, Stephen knew something was wrong. Seton neurosurgeon Dr. Mateo Ziu diagnosed Stephen with a brain tumor, and recommended surgery.

Tailoring Brain Tumor Treatment to the Patient

To say Stephen was nervous about his upcoming brain tumor removal surgery would be an understatement. Stephen’s natural talents had earned him both master’s and doctorate degrees, and a life without music was unthinkable.

With complete understanding of his patient’s priorities, Dr. Ziu took steps during surgery to minimize possible risks such as loss of speech and paralysis. Instead of putting Stephen under anesthesia, Dr. Ziu performed an awake craniotomy so he could interact with Stephen throughout the surgery and modify his technique as needed based on his patient’s response.

Once the bulk of the tumor was removed, Dr. Ziu suggested that any remaining tumor tissue could be addressed through chemotherapy and radiation. In the time that has passed since his surgery, Stephen has not only avoided any additional seizures, but has been relieved to find he can play the piano and organ just as well as ever.