Thousands of people tuned in this week to watch an Allen, Texas woman’s awake brain surgery live-streamed on Facebook.
Jenna Schardt, 25, underwent the procedure at Methodist Dallas Medical Center on Tuesday to remove a tangled mass of blood vessels in her brain that was impacting her ability to speak normally and could cause seizures.
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The surgery began around 11:45 a.m. Schardt was first placed under anesthesia so doctors could cut into her skull. After reaching her brain — which does not have any pain receptors — doctors woke her. A technician showed the woman images on an iPad and asked her to speak basic words to ensure important parts of her brain weren’t adversely affected during the surgery.
“We have a GPS tracking system for the brain, and we need to find the places we need to avoid,” Dr. Nimesh Patel, the hospital’s chief of neurosurgery, said during the live-stream, which lasted roughly 45 minutes. Patal also took viewers’ questions during the event.
“I’m so impressed by her,” he added at one point as Schardt described what she saw on the iPad, according to The Dallas Morning News.
The mass was discovered after Schardt, who is studying for her master’s degree in occupational therapy, suddenly was unable to speak while at work, according to the newspaper.
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“All of a sudden during the middle of a conversation, I just couldn’t speak anymore,” she said, according to NBC News.
The 25-year-old — who was open to having her surgery live-streamed to “remove the misconceptions about brain surgery,” according to the Dallas Morning News — was placed under anesthesia once more so doctors could reattach her skull. She is expected to fully recover.