Gabrielle Giffords Undergoing Surgery to Replace Piece of Her Skull

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Gabrielle Giffords will have surgery to replace a piece of her skull removed to manage brain swelling after she was shot by Jared Lee Loughner in January. Giffords's operation comes while her husband, Mark Kelly, is in space, commanding the space shuttle Endeavor as it docks with the International Space Station. Giffords's mother and brother-in-law are with her at the hospital.

Giffords has spent four months without a chunk of her skull on the left side of her head. Typically, brain surgery patients have the bone replaced right away. A plastic implant will be attached under her scalp, and recovery will take only a day or two, the Associated Press's Ramit Plushnick-Masti reports. (In January, a neurosurgeon explained to AOL News that the surgery is relatively simple, like "carpentry.") Afterward, Giffords won't have to wear a helmet while moving around, doctors say.

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