Alama Kanté, sang her way through throat surgery in a world first.

Alama Kanté, sang her way through throat surgery in a world first.

The power of hypnosis has been laid bare after a professional singer literally sang her way through throat surgery to avoid losing her voice.

Alama Kanté, a Guinean singer based in France, is the first ever patient to have a tumour removed from her throat while staying awake.

The surgey took place at Henri-Mondor hospital in France, while the 31 year old performing artist listened to a hypnotist to numb the pain of the procedure.

Speaking about the operation, she said: “I’m a professional singer and they told me I might lose my voice. They suggested hypnosis to me, but I didn’t know what that entailed – it was the first I’d heard of it.”

Kanté was first given a local anesthetic and then hypnotised by Asmaa Khaled. She was suffering from a parathyroid gland tumour but refused to have the necessary operation to remove it unless she was assured her voice would be protected.

If surgeons had touched a nerve accidentally, Kanté’s voice would have been irreversibly altered. By asking her to sing, the surgeon could tell instantly if he was on the right lines – if she stopped singing, he had gone too far.

Once in the operating room, the patient underwent a local anesthetic and was put into a trance state. The hypnotist then asked her to travel to Senegal in her mind – she believed she was on holiday throughout the duration of the operation.

The full extent of the procedure was only unveiled at a conference which took place this month in which Kanté was invited to sing material from her new album, Generation Sabbar, which she originally performed on the operating table.

The video of Kanté singing through the surgery was also unveiled at the conference.

Professor Giles Dhonneur, head of the anaesthesia and intensive care department at Henri Mondor hospital said in a press conference that it was the first time a tumour has been removed using the technique, as the procedure would usually be carried out under general anaesthetic.

He also added in an interview with French publication Le Figaro: “The pain of such an operation is intolerable if you are fully awake. Only hypnosis enables you to stand it. She went into a trance listening to the words of the hypnotist. She went a long way away, to Africa. And she began to sing – it was amazing.”

Kanté said that although the procedure was painful, the hypnosis helped to mask the full extent of it.

She said that she remembers the hypnotist telling her that the pain she felt was that of childbirth, and remembers the song lyrics she sang to help control it: “Fight, never give up…”

Kanté added: “There was a moment where I really felt pain … and it passed, the pain passed and afterwards it was normal, as if I were in a dream.”

Kanté has since made a full recovery and has continued her singing career.

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  1. Pingback: Singer Sings Through Throat Surgery* | Hwaairfan's Blog

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