Malala to undergo skull surgery

Jan 31, 2013, 07:50 IST | Agencies

Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai who was shot in the head by the Taliban is to receive a replacement titanium skull, British surgeons have revealed.

The 15-year-old, was flown for treatment at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital last October after being shot at point blank range for campaigning for girls’ education; an incident that provoked outrage worldwide. 

Amazing recovery: Malala was discharged from the hospital earlier this month. Doctors treating her said that her recovery was ‘a testament to her strength and desire to get better. File Pic

Yesterday, surgeons at the hospital revealed that they will replace missing parts of Malala’s skull and implant a complex electronic hearing device to replace her left eardrum, which was destroyed.

They said a 0.66mm titanium metal plate will be screwed into place, having been moulded from a 3D model created through the CT image of Malala’s skull.

In a separate procedure, a cochlear implant will be fitted, the type of device that provides a sense of sound to someone who is profoundly deaf or severely hard of hearing.

A small area will be drilled in the skull behind the titanium plate to allow the electronics to be implanted. The operation will take place within the next 10 days.

Malala was released from hospital earlier this month. The bullet struck her around the left eyebrow, travelled underneath her skin down the side of her head and hit her in the shoulder. Remarkably it did not penetrate the skull, although it shattered the thinnest bone of the skull and damaged the soft tissue at the base of her jaw and neck.

Dr Dave Rosser, medical director at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, said: “Her recovery is remarkable and it’s a testament to her strength and desire to get better.” He added her full recovery is likely to take another 15 to 18 months.

Dr Rosser said the missing part of Malala’s skull had been put in her abdomen by surgeons in Pakistan to ‘keep the bone alive’. However, he said that they had chosen to use a metal plate to repair her skull instead of the bone in her abdomen because it might now have shrunk.

He added, “Putting a titanium plate that is custom made to be put over the left hand side of her scull to offer physical protection to her brain in the way her skull would be.”

18 Number of months doctors say it will take for complete recovery

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