When Alama Kanté was found to have throat cancer, she was terrified that she would lose her voice and thus her livelihood.
So surgeon Gilles Dhonneur at the Henri Mondor hospital near Paris cut out the tumour while she was awake and under local anaesthetic.
The patient was hypnotised so that she could exercise her vocal chords, allowing them to be left intact.
The operation proved to be a cliff-hanger for the medical team – Kanté had no voice for several minutes after the operation had finished but later her voice completely returned.
“I wasn’t in the hospital, I was far away from here, in Senegal,” she said afterwards.
Although he has practised surgery with the help of a hypnotist for two years, Dhonneur said that neither he nor anyone else had taken the procedure so far as he did in the operation on Kanté, performed in April.
Alama Kanté will soon be performing in public to promote her new album, Sambou.