Talented singer Kira Iaconetti, 19, recently had to undergo brain surgery. A tumour was pressing on her auditory cortex, triggering a type of epilepsy seizure whenever she performed or listened to music. She has been performing in musical theatre since she was a child and hoped to make this her career.

Neurosurgeons allowed the brave teenager to sing during her brain surgery, so they could find which areas of her brain ignite when performing or listening to music.

Music career threatened by tumour

It sounds like something from a science fiction movie, but it actually happened.

While Kira Iaconetti has been involved in musical theatre from a young child, she suddenly found she was tone deaf and couldn’t sing at all. Inside Edition quotes Kira as saying it was like a light switch switches in her brain and she couldn’t process the words of the song in time with the music.

Doctors diagnosed Kira with a type of epilepsy that was triggered whenever she performed or listened to music. They found the epilepsy was caused by a tumour pressing against the auditory cortex of her brain.

Neurosurgeon Dr Jason Hauptman of the Seattle Children’s Hospital felt it was the best plan of action to perform an awake craniotomy on Kira. The teenager placed under anaesthesia was also kept awake while the surgery was performed while singing to ignite those areas of her brain that focused on her musical abilities.

Hauptman told People.com their focus was not just on removing the tumour, but also on making Kira’s life better. He said they wanted to preserve what she cares about, especially her wish for a career in musical theatre.

Teen sings ‘Island in the Sun’ during brain surgery

Kira came up with the perfect song choice for her surgery, by picking Weezer's “Island in the Sun.” She said this was partly because the song reminded her of Hawaii, her birthplace, but also because there is a line in the lyrics “I can’t control my brain.” When he heard the news, Weezer tweeted Kira, wishing her a speedy recovery and inviting her to join them at a show during spring.

Once the neurosurgeons had safely removed the tumour, Kira was placed under anaesthetic and allowed to sleep while they completed the surgery.

Eight hours after the operation, Kira was singing and playing her guitar in her hospital bed, so the surgery was obviously successful.

Kira said that her biggest fear prior to the surgery was that the epileptic seizures would interfere with her performing. Now the operation is over, she can’t wait to get back on stage and perform again.