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Gabrielle Giffords Will Undergo Cranioplasty

On Wednesday, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona was scheduled to go under the knife for a cranioplasty procedure. This is an extremely crucial step in her treatment for the gunshot wound to her head.

Representatives from the congresswoman’s office and officials from the Memorial Hermann Hospital where she is currently receiving treatment and therapy would neither deny nor confirm the report. Her medical team, however, predicted roughly 2 months ago that they are to perform the procedure in mid-May. The hospital spokesperson said they will schedule a press conference today, Thursday.

Cranioplasty is a surgical procedure that includes the replacement of a portion of the human skull with either a plastic implant or an original bone tissue. Gifford’s doctors have already said that they will use a synthetic implant that will be secured by titanium screws because the fragment removed from her skull to relive the pressure due to brain swelling was contaminated. If all goes well, cranioplasty usually takes more or less two hours.

The congresswoman has been in intense therapy in one of the departments in the Memorial Hermann Hospital, the Institute for Rehabilitation and Research, since the January 8 shooting. Giffords was shot to the head in a public meeting among her constituents in Arizona. Lead suspect for the incident is the 22-year old Jared Loughner who allegedly fired from the crowd. The shooting wounded 13 people and killed six, including a child, a federal judge, and one of the congresswoman’s aids.

Giffords’ doctors see a huge amount of improvement on her condition. She was seen dining with her husband and friends a few weeks ago and was cleared to watch her husband, Capt. Mark Kelly, liftoff. Kelly is the crew leader of space shuttle Endeavour.

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Giffords Cleared to See Her Husband’s Launch

On Monday, doctors of Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords confirmed that she may fly to Florida this week to send off  her husband to space. Gifford’s husband is the space commander of space shuttle Endeavour. However, the congresswoman has to immediately return to the hospital to continue her rehabilitation.

TIRR Memorial Hermann doctors said that Giffords is medically stable and able to travel. In fact, they view this trip to see her husband as part of her rehabilitation. The congresswoman was shot to the head a few months back and is still under the hospital’s rehabilitative program. Dr. Dong Kim, director of the Mischer Neuroscience Institute in the hospital, said that he does not see any reason why this trip should pose additional risk to Gifford’s health.

The last time the congresswoman was in an aircraft was when she was flown from Arizona, where she was given immediate treatment following the shoot-out, to Houston, where her current rehabilitation is taking place. Dr. Kim, however, emphasized that Giffords will no longer be flying thru ambulance transport.

C.J. Karamrgin, the congresswoman’s spokesperson, said that they are very pleased with the announcement. Her entire staffs believe that this will be another major milestone in her rehabilitation as she has been looking forward to the launch even before the accident.

President Barack Obama and the first lady will also watch the launch but there are no reports yet if they will be watching it with Giffords. The families, including the congresswoman, will watch the Endeavour take off from a restricted area and Giffords has no plans of a public appearance.

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