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Face-to-face with brain surgery

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    Face-to-face with brain surgery

    Face-to-face with brain surgery

    By Nick Triggle
    BBC News health reporter

    The London audience watched as the operation took place in America
    It had been dubbed a return to Victorian times when operations were performed in front of public audiences as doctors pushed back the boundaries of medical science.
    About 120 visitors turned up to see the first "live" brain surgery to be broadcast in the UK. But there was nothing outdated about this show.

    The operation to remove a benign tumour was actually performed in a New Jersey hospital in the US and was beamed on to a large screen at the Science Museum's Dana Centre in London on Thursday evening.

    The centre arranged the broadcast, part of an award-winning programme by New Jersey's Liberty Science Center, as an educational event.

    'Genuinely shocked'

    And, in a way, it was educational. Eventually. But at first the audience, made up of medical students, doctors and members of the public, seemed genuinely shocked.

    Surgeons said the patient had had brain surgery before
    Presented with a screen showing a large incision across the 71-year-old man's head, the visitors gasped ever so slightly.

    As the surgeons cut and pulled at the head to reach the tumour located on the side of the brain, people seemed a little uneasy.

    But with the team talking the audience through the procedure and a guide on hand to offer explanations, the atmosphere was more relaxed.

    Indeed, the visitors became visibly comfortable when they started asking the doctors questions.

    While some were quite technical, a number were amusing. Does the tumour smell one woman asked to laughs from the audience. The answer - no.