Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl shot in the head by a militant last October, is to have a custom-made metal plate drilled into her skull to repair it.
A cranium plate would be fitted into the missing part of her skull as part of a sophisticated procedure to reconstruct her face, said surgeons treating her at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Wednesday.
Doctors in Pakistan had put the damaged skull bone into her abdomen to keep it “alive”. Ms. Yousafzai has asked for it to be given to her to keep as a memento once it is removed.
In a separate procedure, a small electronic device will be implanted into her left ear to help her regain hearing which she lost after the attack. The two operations are planned over the next 10 days or so but she might take another 15 to 18 months to make a full recovery.
Dr. Dave Rosser, medical director at the hospital where Ms. Yousafzai is being treated as an outpatient, described her recovery as “remarkable”. He said the surgery she underwent in Pakistan before being flown to Britain was “life-saving”.
“Her recovery is remarkable and it’s a testament to her strength and desire to get better. There is no doubt that the surgery she underwent in Pakistan was life saving. Had that surgery not been of such a high standard she would have died,” he said.
Dr. Rosser said that Ms. Yousafzai who has been awarded Ireland’s prestigious Tipperary International Peace Prize for 2012 for her courage, was “incredibly determined to continue to speak for her cause” despite being aware of the risks.
The attack on her as she was returning home from her school in Pakistan’s Swat district on October 9 caused international outrage. Thousands of people signed a petition nominating her for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Ms. Yousafzai’s father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, has been given a job at Pakistani consulate in Birmingham so that she can continue to stay on in Britain after her medical treatment.