Operation Live, brain surgery

On October 26, 2011, a live operation was broadcast on television for the second time. This year, broadcaster MAX shows the brain operation in the program ‘Operation Live’. Frans van de Kerkhof has a brain tumor that is removed during the hour and a half broadcast by neurosurgeons Geert-Jan Rutten and Jeroen Verheul. Frans wants to draw attention to the STOPhersentumoren.nl Foundation. During the broadcast of ‘Operation Live’, viewers can ask questions to specialists in the studio. The program is presented by Charles Groenhuijsen.

Operation Live

On October 26, 2011, Omroep MAX broadcasts a brain operation live from the St. Elizabeth Hospital in Tilburg. The broadcast is the second in the series of live operations on television. In 2010, open heart surgery was shown live on broadcaster MAX. The aim of this broadcast is to remove the fear of brain surgery among viewers. In the hospital auditorium, Charles Groenhuijsen provides information about brain disorders during the operation. For this he is assisted by, among others, neurosurgeon Guus Beute. There is direct contact with the operating room, where an explanation about the removal of a brain tumor is given during the operation. During the broadcast there will be an opportunity to ask questions via Twitter or email. The broadcast attracts 1.2 million viewers.

Frans van de Kerkhof

The operation is performed on a 57-year-old man, Frans van de Kerkhof. He has a malignant, slow-growing brain tumor. He chose to have the operation broadcast live to draw attention to the STOPhersentumoren.nl Foundation. This Foundation raises money to enable research into treatment methods for brain tumors. Every year, approximately 1,500 people are diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor.

Frans undergoes a so-called awake operation during the broadcast of ‘Operation Live’. The patient is put under anesthesia, after which his skull is lifted. As soon as the neurosurgeon is going to remove the brain tumor, Frans is woken up. The reason for this is that there are risks when removing a brain tumor that permanent brain damage will occur. Damage can be prevented by testing important brain functions during surgery.

The brain surgery

Source: Skeeze, Pixabay

The removal of Frans van de Kerkhof’s malignant brain tumor takes place at the St. Elizabeth Hospital in Tilburg. The operation is performed by neurosurgeons Geert-Jan Rutten and Jeroen Verheul, together with a team of specialists. A brain tumor is caused by uncontrolled cell division in the brain. This causes a tumor to form. There are benign and malignant brain tumors. The greatest danger of a brain tumor is that the tumor pushes away the brain, which can damage vital functions. By removing the brain tumor, the neurosurgeon tries to prevent damage to the brain. However, there are also risks associated with the operation. Permanent brain damage can occur:

  • Emotional disturbances
  • Functions in the musculoskeletal system (arms, legs)
  • Speech and language disorders
  • Loss of the visual field
  • Balance disorders
  • Epilepsy
  • Concentration and memory problems
  • Behavioral changes

Testing these vital functions during surgery minimizes damage. The patient is therefore kept awake during part of the operation. Once the tumor has been removed, it is examined for malignant cells. Depending on the results, the patient will receive radiation or chemotherapy. Only 2% of patients recover completely. In 98% of cases, the brain tumor will return in the long term.

Purpose of Operation Live

STOPhersentumoren.nl is a foundation that raises money to enable research into the treatment of brain tumors. With this they support the setting up of immunological and molecular research by the UMC St. Radboud. Frans van de Kerkhof’s live operation draws attention to the great importance of these studies. By providing a clear explanation of the operation, ‘Operation Live’ hopes to remove fear from viewers about such a drastic operation.

Unfortunately, Frans van de Kerkhof died about 8 months after the operation.