Ex-Beauty Queen Recovers After Skull Kept in Her Abdomen

Jamie Hilton was shocked to find the bulge in her side

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 1, 2012 7:20 PM CDT

(Newser) – Doctors gave Jamie Hilton only a 50/50 chance to live after she fell into a culvert on a fishing trip and badly damaged her brain. The only option, they said, was to remove about a quarter of her skull to let her swelling brain expand—and keep the skull fragment tucked away in her abdomen, Today Health reports. Jamie's husband, Nick, who says he had witnessed her accident along the Idaho-Oregon border this summer in horror, had little choice but to go with the plan.

"The body takes care of it," her surgeon explained. "The body keeps the bone sterile. And then when you’re ready to put the bone back you have it right there." Sure enough, when the former beauty queen came around, she says she found "this huge bulge" in her abdomen. "Obviously it was not a dream." Six weeks after doctors had removed it, they screwed it back onto her skull and sewed her scalp together. Today the mother of three is in good health, but not the same: "Things that seemed so mundane before are not mundane anymore," she says. "I am just so thankful and happy."

A woman lying in a hospital bed.
A woman lying in a hospital bed.   (Shutterstock)
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Jamie and Nick Hilton visit The Today Show.   (NBC)

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