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Portion of Kirk's Skull Reattached

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Portion of Kirk's Skull Reattached

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Then-U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., signs off as he departs his polling site in Highwood, Ill. on Nov. 2, 2010.

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Sen. Mark Kirk on Tuesday morning had a third surgery following his ischemic stroke two weeks ago, this time to reattach the portion of his skull that was removed to make room for swelling.

"This is an important milestone in his recovery and a step toward the next phase, rehabilitation.  He remains in good condition," said Kirk's physician, Dr. Richard Fessler, in a daily progress statement.

Doctors removed a four-inch-by-eight-inch portion of the senator's skull in an emergency procedure  Jan. 22. Kirk earlier that night contacted a doctor friend via text message complaining that he wasn't feeling well.

Tests revealed the 52-year-old senator had suffered an ischemic stroke on the right side of his brain.

Kirk had a second surgery days later to relieve more brain swelling. Two small pieces of tissue "previously destroyed and rendered non-functional" by the stroke were removed.

Doctors say they've been impressed by the speed of Kirk's recovery. He's said to be alert and visiting with family and even reportedly watched Sunday's Super Bowl.

Kirk remains in the Intensive Care Unit at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, but Fessler said he should be released to an area rehabilitation center in the not-too-distant future.

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