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Brain Cancer Health Center

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Sen. Ted Kennedy Out of Brain Surgery

Kennedy's Brain Surgery 'Successful,' Says Duke University Doctor

Kennedy's Brain Surgery continued...

Does his age make a difference in those risks?

Heros: I don't believe that the age makes the difference in the immediate risks. Sometimes age makes a difference in terms of recovery if deficits do occur. The main risk is, of course, the location of the tumor.

If there were complications, would they be immediately obvious?

Heros: The neurologic deficits should be immediately obvious. Of course, we always have to watch for secondary medical complications -- infection, making sure the surgical incision heals well, and there are some other medical complications that can occur after surgery that the physicians would monitor him for.

What's the recovery process like? Sen. Kennedy's statement indicates that he expects to be in the hospital for about a week.

Heros: The recovery time depends totally on what happens at the time of surgery, whether or not there are any neurologic deficits as well as the medical condition of the patient. Hopefully, we can look forward to hearing that Sen. Kennedy leaves the hospital within that amount of time.

Why do you think he chose to go to Duke and Dr. Friedman?

Heros: Oftentimes [patients] seek multiple opinions, and this decision to have surgery is a recommendation based on the judgment of the surgeon. There are several centers in the country that perform motor mapping awake surgery, and Duke is well known for this, as many other centers are.

Flamm: The people who met up at the MGH [Massachusetts General Hospital] were from the MGH, Duke, and UCSF [University of California at San Francisco]. They have big tumor programs at these places, as do other places. But I don't know what prompted that particular decision. ... There's nothing that one of these large university medical centers has that the others aren't aware of. It may be that he thought he'd get more privacy outside of Boston. I don't know. You can speculate on any reason. Maybe he liked Allan Friedman. He's a nice guy. But so are the people at the MGH.

Anything else you would want to add?

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