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Brain Surgery: What Kennedy Experienced

from ABC News

Surgeons at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., report that Sen. Ted Kennedy is doing well after nearly four hours of surgery [yesterday] to remove a cancerous brain tumor.

For part of the surgery, the 76-year-old Massachusetts senator was awake and conscious, according to an Associated Press report. This relatively new and dramatic approach is being used by surgeons in cases when a malignant tumor isn't readily accessible on the surface of the brain.

So after cutting into Kennedy's skull, Dr. Allan Friedman—the surgeon wielding the scalpel—had to find a pathway through the brain to get at the tumor. For this he needed the patient's conscious help to avoid damaging brain cells essential for speech, movement and other important functions.

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