Navigation Links
Rep. Giffords to Get Skull Patch in Latest Step in Recovery
Date:5/18/2011

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, May 18 (HealthDay News) -- Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, shot in the head four months ago by a would-be assassin, will undergo surgery Wednesday in Houston to replace the piece of skull that was removed immediately after the shooting, according to the Associated Press.

This next step in a recovery described as miraculous comes only days after the three-term Democratic congresswoman from Arizona traveled to Florida to see her husband, Mark Kelly, rocket into space on the space shuttle Endeavour's last mission.

While this is a major move forward, it will have no effect on her neurological status, and any speech or other therapy will continue, according to one expert, Dr. Anders Cohen, chief of neurosurgery at The Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York City.

"This is part of the recovery," Cohen said. "This is on the happier side, because it is not lifesaving. Swelling is no longer an issue, so let's protect the brain and let's give her a better cosmetic look. It's a quick thing with a fast recovery," he said.

After the shooting in Tucson, which killed six people and wounded 12 others, doctors removed a large piece of Giffords' skull to give the brain room to swell. It's likely that the bullet that pierced her brain also shattered the bone, experts said.

Cohen, who is not involved in Giffords' care but is familiar with news reports about her progress, said surgeons usually remove a piece of skull about the size of a hand. Had the skull remained intact, significant brain damage and even death might have occurred, he said.

"When the brain swells, the skull, which usually protects the brain, becomes your worst enemy," he explained.

Replacement surgery isn't done until the swelling stops and the brain has shrunk back to its normal size, Cohen added.

The replacement piece will probably be a custom-made plastic implant that fits the opening perfectly, said Dr. Ricky Madhok, a neurosurgeon at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y., and Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, N.Y. It is meant to protect the brain and give her head a natural appearance, he noted.

"To replace the part of the skull, certain types of plastic can be used to recreate the skull," explained Madhok, who is not involved in Giffords' surgery. "Keep in mind, the purpose of the skull is to provide a protective barrier to the brain, whether that is done by bone or by a specially designed plastic."

The technology for these replacement implants is now very advanced, he added. "One of the biggest things to be developed in this area is custom designed implants," Madhok said. "As such, using finely cut CT scans, each implant can be made to fit and recreate the skull in such a way that the overall fit is as if the original bone itself was replaced."

"Within a week, you get a ready-made prosthetic that exactly matches the defect," Cohen added.

Surgeons will attach the plate to the skull with titanium brackets, then draw the scalp over the plate, Cohen said. The implant will be concealed and hair will grow over it.

"As soon as you close the scalp, the patient looks symmetrical again. The cosmetic result is very striking right from the get-go," he said. "They look like themselves again right away."

Cohen said the risks of the surgery are minimal compared to what Giffords has already been through. "You are not really doing any brain surgery at this point," he said. "It's a fast procedure, usually taking under an hour," he added.

Madhok agreed. "Restoring the part of the skull that was removed is routine if patients have a good outcome to replace the defect. While this procedure is still considered brain surgery, there are much less risks than with the initial operation," he said.

Recovery from the procedure takes one or two days, the AP said.

Until this surgery is done, Giffords must be careful not to fall or bump her head, which could harm the unprotected area of the brain, Cohen said. Since her initial treatment, the congresswoman has worn a helmet with an Arizona state flag decal on it, the AP reported.

More information

For more on head injuries, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Anders Cohen, M.D., chief, neurosurgery, The Brooklyn Hospital Center, New York City; Ricky Madhok, M.D., neurosurgeon, North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, N.Y., and Nassau University Medical Center, East Meadow, N.Y.; May 18, 2011, Associated Press


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Can Move Arms, Breathe On Her Own
2. Giffords Opens Eyes. Like Watching a Miracle, Friends Say
3. Rep. Giffords Continues to Recover From Gunshot Wound
4. Rep. Giffords Has Surgery to Replace Breathing Tube
5. Rep. Giffords Continues to Improve
6. Rep. Giffords Standing Up, Set to Begin Rehab Friday
7. Rep. Giffords Set to Begin Rehab in Houston
8. Rep. Giffords Moved to Rehab Facility
9. Rep. Giffords Intensive Rehab Under Way
10. TheBookPatch.com Launches: Writers Have Free Online Destination with Myriad Tools; Users Can Print One Book at a Time
11. Low-Dose HRT Patch May Lessen Stroke Risk
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Rep. Giffords to Get  Skull Patch  in Latest Step in Recovery
(Date:6/25/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... health policy issues and applications at AcademyHealth’s Annual Research Meeting June 26-28, 2016, ... work on several important health care topics including advance care planning, healthcare costs ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... Lewisville, TX (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... in the United States, named Dr. Sesan Ogunleye, as the Medical Director of its ... be the facility Medical Director of our new Mesquite location,” said Dr. James M. ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... Canada (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... Conventional ... pursuit of success. In terms of the latter, setting the bar too high can ... risk more than just slow progress toward their goal. , Research from ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Marcy was in a crisis. Her son James, eight, ... at his family verbally and physically. , “When something upset him, he couldn’t control his ... it. He would throw rocks at my other children and say he was going to ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Comfort Keepers® of San Diego, CA is excited to announce ... program to drive cancer patients to and from their cancer treatments. Comfort Keepers ... of life and ongoing independence. Getting to and from medical treatments is one ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 Research ... World Market for Companion Diagnostic Tests" report to their ... Market for Companion Diagnostics The World Market ... and personalized medicine diagnostics. Market analysis in the report includes ... Test Market (In Vitro Diagnostic Kits) by Region (N. America, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , Belgium , June ... MKT: VNRX), today announced the appointment of Dr. ... of Directors as a Non-Executive Director, effective June ... Company,s Audit, Compensation and Nominations and Governance Committees.  ... Dr. Futcher will provide independent expertise and strategic ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Research and Markets has ... - Forecast to 2022" report to their offering. ... for the patients with kidney failure, it replaces the function ... the patient,s blood and thus the treatment helps to keep ... in balance. Increasing number of ESRD patients ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: