Giffords Set to Undergo Skull Surgery
Procedure is major milestone in recovery
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 18, 2011 1:22 AM CDT
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is set to undergo skull surgery today.   (AP Photo/Office of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, File)

(Newser) – Shooting victim Gabrielle Giffords is set to undergo surgery today to replace a large part of her skull. Neurosurgeons in Houston plan to attach a plastic implant to cover most of the left side of her head, where part of her skull was removed in January to allow room for swelling of the brain after she was shot by a gunman in a Tucson supermarket, reports the Houston Chronicle. She has been wearing a protective helmet since. Over the coming months, new bone will grow into the implant.

The cranioplasty procedure—expected to be quick and uneventful—marks a major milestone in the congresswoman's recovery, as it means swelling of the brain is no longer a danger and she is closer to being released. Doctors have described Giffords' recovery from an injury that kills 95% of those who suffer it as "miraculous." On Monday, Giffords flew to Florida to watch husband Mark Kelly command the space shuttle Endeavor's final launch.
 

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