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Sen. Kirk’s brain swelling subsides; doctors reattach skull section

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk. Sun-Times file photo. | Rich Hein~Sun-Times

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk. Sun-Times file photo. | Rich Hein~Sun-Times

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Updated: March 9, 2012 8:13AM

Doctors on Tuesday reattached a 4-inch by 8-inch piece of U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk’s skull that was removed to ease swelling in his brain following his Jan. 21 stroke.

“The swelling in Sen, Kirk’s brain has subsided and this morning we were able to reattach the portion of his skull that had been removed following his stroke,” said Dr. Richard Fessler, neurosurgeon at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and professor of neurological surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

“This is an important milestone in his recovery and a step toward the next phase, rehabilitation. He remains in good condition.”

Kirk could begin rehab as early as this week.

Kirk, 52, suffered the stroke on the right side of his brain, which governs motor functions; the left side governs cognitive functions. Doctors are hopeful he will have a full mental recovery.

He may have limited use of his left limbs and he may have some facial paralysis, his doctors have said.

Gov. Quinn Tuesday said he was glad to hear of the successful re-attachment and wished Kirk a quick recovery, saying, “We need him in Washington.”

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