Yesterday morning, doctors and other staff at the Methodist Dallas Medical Centre livestreamed on Facebook a portion of an ‘awake brake surgery’ on Jenna Schardt.

Globe and mail

According to NBC, this operation was done to remove tangled blood vessels which had affected her ability to talk and was causing seizures. 

But here’s the thing. Schardt had to stay awake for part of the surgery so doctors could be sure that they weren’t damaging critical brain functions.

New York Post

Dr. Bartley Mitchell, Schardt’s neurosurgeon spoke to NBC and said: 

If we go into the wrong spot, that could cost her the ability to speak, so that’s why we have to map out the speech areas first before we go on. We have to physically map them out on the brain while she’s awake and talking to us. 
ABC News

Before cutting into her skull, the doctors put her under anesthesia. But after they reached the brain, they had to wake her up and showed her some basic words and pictures to read. If she didn’t speak or made a mistake, it gave the surgeons some crucial information. 


Dr. Nimesh Patel explained the procedure during the livestream: 

We have a GPS tracking system for the brain, and we need to find the places we need to avoid. The brain mapping doesn’t hurt Schardt; there are no pain receptors on the surface of the brain.

During the livestream, more than 2,300 people logged in to watch. 

Healthy Topics

Schardt was also eager to have her surgery livestreamed as she believed that it would help others who have to go through brain surgeries. 

It is cool that they can do that… I would rather have me be awake and speaking so they can hit the right areas.

You can watch the surgery here:

According to the report, doctors have been performing similar surgery for years. In 2017, a surgery was performed on a musician while he played the saxophone to make sure they safely removed a tumor without damaging his ability to play music.