Olive-stuffing and in-theatre piano: the brain surgeon breaking new ground

Italian Roberto Trignani is known for ‘awake surgery’ and other unorthodox methods

Playing the violin, watching cartoons and doing crosswords: these are just some of the activities patients have performed while having brain surgery under Roberto Trignani.

Trignani, the head of neurosurgery at Riuniti hospital in Ancona, Italy, was already known for his “awake surgery” techniques, which he has used roughly 70 times in the last few years. But he broke new ground in June this year when a 60-year-old woman prepared stuffed olives as he removed a tumour from her left temporal lobe.

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