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Freeze Skull to Save Life: Docs Work a Medical Miracle

by Tanya Thomas on August 20, 2010 at 2:51 AM
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 Freeze Skull to Save Life: Docs Work a Medical Miracle

A risky surgery on a swollen brain was successful only after doctors froze the skull of the Utah man on the table.

Kyle Johnson's brain got swollen uncontrollably after he fell off from a longboard (surfboard on wheels). He had no chances of surviving as he had shattered his skull in more than 10 places.


Neurosurgeons of McKay-Dee Hospital in Utah removed both the sides of his head and froze it.

Doctor Blake Welling decided to perform bilateral decompressive craniectomy. It is a risky surgery that is the last resort for neurosurgeons.

"We elected to take Kyle to surgery and remove each side of his head. Most neurosurgeons do a decompressive craniectomy on one side of the head, where the trauma was," The Courier Mail quoted Welling as saying.

"In this case, Kyle had such a global brain injury that we needed to take both sides of his head off, and you just leave a small strip of bone right down the middle," he added.

Welling and his team removed Johnson's fractured skull, put it back together with micro-screws and plates, and then put it in a freezer to prevent the bone from becoming brittle.

Johnson was placed in a drug-induced coma for about three weeks while doctors monitored his brain swelling. After the swelling went down, Welling put the bone flaps back into place, and it took Johnson about another week to wake up.

Source: ANI

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