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National Geographic Will Air First Live Brain Surgery

2 minute read

National Geographic Channel is bringing a dramatic trope from hospital shows like Grey’s Anatomy and E.R. to life. The network, in partnership with Mental Floss, plans to air the first live brain surgery on Oct. 25. The patient will be fully awake throughout the proceedings.

The deep brain stimulation surgery taking place at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio will be shown for two hours in a special called Brain Surgery Live With Mental Floss. The procedure will be captured with two handheld cameras and several robotic cameras in the doctors’ surgical equipment.

Deep brain simulation is an elective surgery used to treat essential tremor in Parkinson’s Disease. The patient is awake and able to speak during the operation, which allows the doctors to know if they have accessed the correct area of the brain. Journalist Bryant Gumbel will host the show and neurosurgeon Dr. Rahul Jandial and neuroscientist and podcast host Cara Santa Maria will provide running commentary.

The neurosurgerical team includes Dr. Jonathan Miller, UH Case Medical Center’s director of the Center for Functional and Restorative Neurosurgery, Dr. Benjamin Walter, director of the Parkinson’s & Movement Disorders Center and medical director of UH Case Medical Center’s Deep Brain Stimulation Program and neurosurgeon Dr. Jennifer Sweet. The network has not yet identified the patient.

“By partnering with National Geographic and Mental Floss, two incredible brands with a passion for exploring science, we hope to demystify brain surgery, diminishing the fear and stigma of this operation,” Miller told The Hollywood Reporter. “We hope that this live broadcast of a deep brain stimulation surgery will educate viewers and offer a comprehensive look at this cutting-edge surgery.”

The surgery will air live at 9 p.m. ET on Oct. 25.


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Write to Eliana Dockterman at eliana.dockterman@time.com