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Teen Sings Her Way Through Brain Surgery So Doctors Can Preserve Her Talent

A Seattle teen is singing the praises of doctors who let her sing during brain surgery.

Musician Kira Iaconetti, 19, has been performing musical theater since she was a child and has ambitions of making it a career.

She feared that might not happen after doctors diagnosed her with a form of epilepsy that triggered seizures when she listened to or performed music.

“It just [felt] like a light switch switches in my brain and suddenly I’m tone deaf. I can’t sing. I can’t process the words in time with the music,” Iaconetti told “Inside Edition.”

Dr. Jason Hauptman, a neurosurgeon at Seattle Children’s Hospital, decided the best plan of action was to perform an awake craniotomy, in which she was put  under anesthesia but kept awake during the surgery so she could sing to ignite the parts of the brain that focus on musical abilities.

“Our focus was not only on taking care of the tumor but making her life better. We wanted to preserve the things she cares about, like her passion for pursuing a career in musical theater,” Hauptman told

Kira Iaconetti sings during surgery.

Seattle Children’s Hospital

Kira Iaconetti sings during surgery.

Iaconetti’s song choice for surgery was Weezer’s “Island in the Sun,” in part because it reminded her of her birthplace, Hawaii, and also because of the line “I can’t control my brain.”

Once the tumor was removed, Iaconetti was put back to sleep while doctors finished the surgery.

It seems to have worked because Iaconetti was playing guitar and singing in her hospital bed 48 hours after the operation, according to a blog on the hospital’s website.

“My biggest fear before the surgery was that the seizures would get in the way of performing,” Iaconetti said. “Now, I want to get back to the stage, to performing as soon as I can.”

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