Jenna Schardt was awake during procedure at Texas hospital as she helped doctors map her brain by answering their questions
On Tuesday, doctors in a Texas hospital prepared a 25-year-old woman for surgery, removed a section of her skull, and then turned on Facebook Live.
For 45 minutes, thousands of viewers tuned in to a video stream while Jenna Schardt underwent brain surgery at Methodist Dallas medical center. Awake for the procedure, Schardt spoke throughout the process, smiling and helping doctors map her brain by answering their questions.
The procedure was narrated by a spokesman for the hospital alongside its chief of neurosurgery, Dr Nimesh Patel. Patel said when Schardt was approachedby the hospital about the idea, she was eager to have us broadcast this.
We struggled with the idea of doing a Facebook Live brain surgery, but because Jenna was so forthcoming and she wanted to show the rest of the community if you have this problem you can fix it, she was a role model for us and we supported her because of that, he said.
Doctors were removing a mass that had been affecting Schardts speech and could have caused seizures.
Schardts neurological issues began while she wasstudying to become an occupational therapist. One day at work, she suddenly lost her ability to speak. After she was rushed to a local hospital, a mass of blood vessels was found in her brain.
Like many brain surgeries, the procedurewas done while Schardt remained awake so surgeons could test brain function in the area surrounding the lesion they were removing, in order to avoid harming her cognitive abilities.
When removing the mass, cuttingjust one millimeter to the left or the right could affect her speech or other abilities, so Schardt looked at a screen shown to her by a medical technician and identified various numbers, colors, and animals to ensure she could maintain brain function throughout.
Im so impressed with how she is handling this, Patel said during the stream.
While the brain surgery appears to be the first of its kind to be streamed, broadcasting medical procedures is becoming increasingly common. In 2018, a Texas woman allowed her breast cancer surgery to be streamed live on Facebook to raise awareness about the disease, and a police officer in Texas streamed his lung surgery on the platform. Michael Salzhauer, a board-certified plastic surgeon in Florida, has gained thousands of followers and a number of new patients from streaming surgeries on Instagram and Snapchat.
The video of Schardts surgery had more than 45,000 views and 1,000 comments by the time it ended. The hospital said it did not show the bloody details of the surgery because it did not think Facebook would allow it. Instead it showed Schardts head surrounded by blue sheets while two doctors worked behind them.
Many people tuning in thanked Schardt and the doctors for allowing them to watch the procedure. Others asked questions about what kind of anesthetic was used and how long her recovery time would be.
Watching this surgery has given me hope about my future similar left temporal lobe surgery, one viewer wrote.
I have the same mass of blood vessels but mine is on my brainstem and I tuned in because I want to get at least a little bit of an idea of what this surgery is like, another said.
The doctor described the procedure as close to perfection as the stream came to an end and doctors prepared to reattach her skull. Schardt will recover in the hospital before being released in several days.