Thursday, January 13, 2011

Neurosurgery Chief Explains Giffords' Surgery

Following the Arizona shootings, many have been following the progress of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head. Against the odds, she is holding her own, even breathing by herself after being taken off a respirator.

The lifesaving surgery she underwent included removing part of her skull to allow the bullet in her brain to be taken out and her brain to swell unencumbered.

Neal Naff, M.D., chief of Neurosurgery at the Sandra and Malcolm Berman Brain & Spine Institute at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, has performed the same type of surgery many times and explains that doctors are monitoring her progress very closely.

“At this point, they will be keeping an eye out for increased pressure on the brain as well as any seizure activity and infections," he says.

Giffords' physicians remain encouraged by her progress, saying it is "going as anticipated." Dr. Naff says that once the brain swelling goes down, her doctors will talk about reattaching the portion of the skull that was removed.

According to Dr. Naff, it could take weeks and months to the long-term effects of the injury. However, yesterday Giffords opened her eyes. She can follow commands, move her arms and breathe without help, all of which are encouraging signs of her recovery.

To learn more about Dr. Naff and the Brain and Spine Institute, call 410-601-WELL (9355).

-Helene King

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