WESTWOOD (CBSLA.com) — A Hollywood actor and musician who played guitar while undergoing brain surgery put on a concert at UCLA Medical Center Wednesday, thrilling doctors with evidence of the procedure’s success.
Brad Carter underwent the Deep Brain Stimulation procedure on May 23, seven years after he was diagnosed with Benign Essential Tremors, a disorder that causes his hands to shake and eyes to twitch involuntarily.
The surgery was shared live on Twitter with video, showing the Georgia-born entertainer strumming the instrument while surgeons implanted electrodes into his brain to stimulate and normalize cell activity.
“Just one little part hurt, and after that I was awake for most of it,” Carter said Wednesday.
“I remember trying to play it slowly. There was a lot of teamwork involved and a lot of back and forth,” he said.
The musician put on a mini concert at UCLA’s Neuroscience Research Building after regaining control of his hands.
Carter recalled the feeling of being stripped of his talents before taking a risk by undergoing the surgery.
“For me to not be able to play guitar is torturous,” he said.
UCLA neurosurgeon Dr. Nader Pouratian is credited with implanting the device that has slowed Carter’s tremors.
“I do the surgery to improve quality of life and function, and to see him get back to what he loves doing and feeling he’s getting better at it is the most gratifying thing I can see,” Pouratian said.
Carter’s tremors are still being monitored and doctors continue adjusting the device to eliminate more of the shaking.
While his shaking hasn’t stopped completely, Carter remains optimistic.
“Because I have to be,” he said. “Otherwise, what was it all for?”
Carter was the 500th person to undergo the Deep Brain Stimulation procedure at UCLA Medical Center.
His performance during the surgery marked a first for the institution.
Carter has been seen in roles on TV’s “CSI:NY”, “The Mentalist” and other shows, as well as several commercials.