Aspiring singer with tangled tongue gets career-saving surgery at Mount Sinai

PLAINVIEW, Long Island -- A fast-thinking doctor and a creative surgery has saved a Long Island teenager's singing career.

Jenna Goerke wants to sing for a living, but she had what could be a career-ending problem with her tongue -- an artery and vein tangle called an AVM that makes it harder to even talk, let alone belt out a tune.

Now, that tangle is gone.

"Oh my God, it's insane," she said. "It was amazing to come back from first surgery and know that I can eat and drink and sing, and there's a good chance it won't bleed."

Earlier this week, that AVM started bleeding, and Mount Sinai neurologist Dr. Alejandro Berenstein did a procedure he pioneered, snaking a catheter through her groin up an artery to find and plug the leaking blood using a sort of glue.

"After my first surgery, I noticed how much thinner my tongue felt," she said. "And Dr. B was like, 'Yeah, that's how most tongues are.' I'm like, oh, I always thought tongues were usually just this thick."

Goerke, who lives in Plainview, just received a nearly full scholarship to Temple University, where she plans to study music theory. And thanks to Mount Sinai's surgical team, she can now sing herself all the way to Broadway. And the doctor better get good tickets.

"For a while, I considered not going into music at all," she said. "But honestly, I would be miserable if I didn't go into music, because it's just my passion in life. And now, it's good to know going in that I can do this, even though I have this condition.