Giffords to have surgery while husband is in space


HOUSTON (AP) — U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' recovery isn't slowing down while her astronaut husband speeds around the Earth.

Giffords was scheduled to undergo surgery today so doctors can replace a piece of her skull with a plastic implant, another encouraging step since the Arizona congresswoman was shot in the head more than four months ago.

The surgery — coming just days after Giffords traveled to Florida to watch her husband, Mark Kelly, launch into space — was confirmed to The Associated Press by two people familiar with the congresswoman's care. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the information has not officially been released.

Doctors removed a piece of Giffords' skull to allow room for brain swelling shortly after a would-be assassin shot her in the head Jan. 8, critically wounding her, killing six people and injuring 12 others at a political event in her hometown of Tucson, Ariz.

The three-term Democratic congresswoman has been wearing a helmet adorned with an Arizona state flag. Doctors said when she arrived in Houston in late January they hoped to do the cranial surgery in May.

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