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Teen who sang during brain surgery at Seattle Children’s is recovering

A Lynden teen is recovering after she sang her way through brain surgery in a first at Seattle Children’s Hospital. The goal: to preserve her music talent as doctors removed a tumor.

Kira Iaconetti, 19, has been performing in musical theater since she was 6 and hopes to make a career of it. But four years ago, she started experiencing short episodes when she would sing or listen to music. She felt a lack of energy. Iaconetti ignored it for a while, but the problem continued.

Doctors discovered she had a rare form of epilepsy that triggered seizures when she listened to or performed music. Her MRI revealed a marble sized mass in the right temporal lobe of her brain.

Dr. Jason Hauptman, a neurosurgeon at Seattle Children’s Hospital proposed surgery to remove the tumor. But not only that, he also suggested an “awake craniotomy” where she would have to sing so he could map out areas of her brain to protect. The risk: losing her ability to sing and perform music, and stay in key.

“If this is what it takes to keep my career going and get out of my tiny town, then sure, go for it,” Iaconetti said with a laugh.

Her song choice: “Island in the Sun” by Weezer. She sang it through the entire surgery.

Weezer noticed, and even wished her a speedy recovery, offering her tickets to an upcoming concert.

Two days after the surgery, Kira was recovering in her hospital bed, guitar in her hands, singing the same song by Weezer.

MyNorthwest contributed to this article.

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