Dystonia patient undergoes successful brain pacemaker surgery while watching cartoons


A dystonia patient in Turkey who had been having uncontrollable involuntary contractions in her legs and arms for the past five years recently underwent brain pacemaker surgery—while awake and watching cartoons. The surgery was performed within the Medical Park Hospitals Group.

Giving information about the patient’s surgery process, neurosurgeon Sait Öztürk (Altınbaş University Medical Park Bahçelievler Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey) said: “Dystonia is a very rare disease. In our patient, there were contractions in the arms and legs that got worse and worse. After the examinations, we deemed it appropriate to perform brain pacemaker surgery.”

The patient in question—11-year-old girl Zeynep Liva Elmacı—was later visited by the screenwriter and characters from the cartoons she watched during the procedure, after Öztürk reached out to the cartoon’s directors.

Explaining why the operation was performed with the patient awake, Öztürk added: “In this way, the effectiveness of the procedure performed can be checked during the operation. Zeynep adapted to the surgery process quite bravely.”

According to Öztürk, this type of procedure can only be performed at a limited number of centres across the world.

“Brain pacemaker procedures are surgeries that require specialised experience and high technology,” he stated. “They are rarely performed in the world and in Turkey.”

In a separate case, Antoneta Selista—a Romanian painter with Parkinson’s disease—regained her ability to paint and her health after a successful brain pacemaker surgery performed in Turkey by Öztürk, having previously been unable to do her job for about six years due to the increasing tremors in her hands.

Another case detailed by the Medical Park Hospitals Group involved a 31-year-old Saudi Arabian patient named Alghamdi Alaa Saeed who had been struggling with severe depression for 12 years and repeatedly attempted suicide, but “found his hope” after undergoing brain pacemaker surgery in Turkey.


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