Roger Frisch
Everyday Health

A Minnesota Orchestra musician, Roger Frisch, played on a violin, as surgeons implanted a tiny electrode in his brain, in an experimental Deep Brain Stimulation surgery.

Frisch's career was at risk when he was diagnosed with essential tumors in 2009 , which resulted in him losing control of his motor skills.

After a year of persuasion by his doctors, Frisch agreed to undergo a surgery, which involved the insertion of a tiny electrode in his brain, that would allow him to control his tremors by the push of a button.

However, since Frisch was diagnosed with a mild condition, surgeons were sceptical as to whether or not the device could be successfully inserted in the right spot inside his brain.

The medical team then devised an alternative strategy to ensure the surgery's success: They would allow Frisch to play his violin and use an accelerometer to detect tremors during the procedure.

"Brain surgeons can sometimes talk to their patients during an operation as there are no pain fibres in the brain, so often times a patient can be awake. That means a patient can talk to the doctors and help them as they work to direct them to the right spot," said Dr. Sanjay Gupta on Everyday Health.

An accelerometer was next placed on the tip of Frisch's violin bow that sent tremor signals onto a graph on a computer screen.

As Frisch played on, he generated readings, while the surgeons tracked the graph readings to carefully insert the electrode in the right spot.

A year after the surgery, Frisch confirmed to the Ovation Press String Visions that his tremors are now controlled, all thanks to the portable device that allows him to switch them off.

Just three weeks after the surgery, Frisch resumed his position as the Associate Concert master with the Minnesota Orchestra and played a full-length performance.

Frisch said he was "fascinated" by the whole surgical process, being a "gadget kind of guy."