Teen listens to iPod during brain tumor removal

Doctors had to keep Gavin Brooke, an 18-year-old from the United Kingdom, awake during a six-hour brain surgery. So he listened to his iPod.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

They say some music just gets into your brain. But not so often into your brain surgery.

Gavin Brooke, an 18-year-old from the United Kingdom, needed surgery to remove a brain tumor. But his doctors needed him to be awake throughout the operation so that they could be sure that they wouldn't damage his brain.

The solution was to hook up the iPod to the operating room's sound system. The first track Gavin chose for this six-hour headbanger's opera was Apologize by Timbaland, featuring One Republic.

This reflected the fact that, in his mind, he wanted to apologize to the surgeons as this was his second brain surgery. The first time around, they didn't get the whole tumor, so Gavin felt sorry for them that they had to get into his head again.

No, this is not Gavin. It's the cover of Brain Salad Surgery Cc Exquisitur

"The tumor was in a very difficult place that controls the movement of the body," Andrew McElroy, the head neurosurgeon told The Sun newspaper. "And we had to ensure we didn't damage the surrounding area. A few millimeters too far could have paralyzed him, so I let him listen to his iPod. We talked to him all the way through, and he was happy with his music on."

Dr. McElroy, who performed the operation at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London, did not reveal how happy he was to be subjected to One Republic while trying to save Gavin's life.

While The Sun wondered whether Gavin might have listened to Emerson, Lake and Palmer's Brain Salad Surgery or Bryan Adams' Cut Like A Knife during the ordeal, if it were me, I think I'd have a special re-recording of one of Creedence Clearwater Revival's greatest hits: Have You Ever Seen The Brain?