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Martha Adcock Reports on Eddie's Brain Surgery

Posted by Richard Dress on Monday, September 8, 2008

Dear friends, Now you can truly call Eddie Adcock the Bionic Banjo Player --and don't forget Gearhead Guitarist-- as he recovers from some remarkable brain surgeries to control a right-hand tremor. The three-part surgery, termed Deep Brain Stimulation, involved implantation of electrodes into the brain as well as insertion of a palm-sized battery-powered generator within the chest wall, plus lead wires to connect the two. The technologically-advanced procedure was performed in multiple stages over the month of August in Nashville, Tennessee, at Vanderbilt Medical Center, a teaching and research hospital which is a world leader in neurological studies and surgeries. Those neurosurgeons were eager to operate on Eddie, with his life-long high level of musical accomplishment and the unique requirements related to his fine motor skills. During the brain-implantation stage of the surgery, he was kept conscious in order to be able to play his Deering GoodTime banjo and assist the team of surgeons in directing the fine-tuning of their placement of electrodes in the brain -- an operating-room 'first'. According to Eddie, "I came up in music the hard way and learned to be a trouper fast. Some of those early days were pretty rough, and I've been stomped, cut and kicked; but I never went through hell like this -- it was the most painful thing I've ever endured. And it was risky. But I did it for a reason: I'm looking forward to being able to play music the way I did years ago prior to getting this tremor. It means that much to me. I'm far from being done!" Iconic bluegrass/newgrass picker Eddie Adcock, who turned seventy years old in June, began his career as a youngster touring his native central Virginia, then migrating to the Washington DC area, and from there jumping off onto the national and international stage. He's now an inductee into numerous Halls of Fame. Eddie adds, "All those smoky places I used to play earned me the emphysema I've got now too." His breathing medications may possibly have been a factor in the development of his hand's tendency to shake; but as Eddie points out, "I've gotta breathe!" For the past several years, his primary neurologist had prescribed around a dozen different medications in hopes of quelling the tremor affecting Eddie's playing and writing. However, none worked, and some had unfortunate side effects. Eddie then underwent a number of evaluations which determined him to be a good likely candidate for Deep Brain Stimulation surgery. Eddie is now the first non-Parkinsons musician to have undergone the DBS procedure at Vanderbilt Medical Center. He has benefitted from the numerous innovative techniques and apparatuses developed by Vanderbilt Neurosciences, and his surgeries were videotaped for Vanderbilt Neurosurgery's use....and you may eventually see him on PBS! Eddie's currently sporting a new haircut, an original design consisting of shaved spots as well as #1-clipper-setting-length fuzz, all showcasing several serious-looking suture areas. "I'm beginning to get used to wearing a do-rag, though. The girls seem to like it." Eddie wishes to thank his team of neurologists and neurosurgeons, especially Dr. Joseph Neimat and Dr. Craig Woodard, for their enthusiasm and great attitude as well as their amazing talents; and he thanks Vanderbilt Medical Center's wonderful staff for their care. And Eddie and I both thank all our friends and family and fans --and the total strangers-- who have sent their good wishes and kindly kept us in their prayers. That has been the best medicine of all! It's not over yet, though: a post-op checkup is slated for late September, and in early October the docs will finally turn the generator on and begin programming the device's strength and intensity. So please keep sending good thoughts Eddie's way! We both hope you will understand that it's been impossible to keep up with email or to do much personal communicating at all, as we've been concentrating on getting Eddie through this ordeal....and out the other side better than ever! All the best, Martha (& Eddie) Adcock

3 comments on “Martha Adcock Reports on Eddie's Brain Surgery”

Wes Lassiter Says:
Thursday, September 11, 2008 @4:36:51 AM

That is so amazing. He is one of a kind and shows what kind of grit and determination it takes to be the pro he his.
I'm sure knowing Eddie that he will pull it off.  He has been in my prayers everyday Thanks Richard..

Wes Lassiter Says:
Thursday, September 11, 2008 @4:36:52 AM

That is so amazing. He is one of a kind and shows what kind of grit and determination it takes to be the pro he his.
I'm sure knowing Eddie that he will pull it off.  He has been in my prayers everyday Thanks Richard..

ac5aa Says:
Tuesday, June 16, 2009 @7:14:03 AM

Any current news on the outcome of Eddie's surgery? 

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