Sharon had part of skull removed in January brain surgery

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had a quarter of his skull removed during a series of brain operations in early January and neurosurgeons are now considering further surgery next week to reattach it, the Jerusalem Post reported Friday.

Ron Krumer, spokesman for Jerusalem 's Hadassah Hospital , where Sharon has been in a coma since suffering a massive stroke on Jan. 4, told The Associated Press that specialists from other hospitals had met Hadassah surgeons to discuss Sharon 's care, but he declined to comment further.

The Post did not say why the portion of skull had been left unattached until now.

A statement from Hadassah on Thursday said the specialists, from Sheba Medical Center outside Tel Aviv, also conferred with Sharon 's family.

Krumer said Thursday there were no immediate plans to change Sharon 's treatment or move him to a long-term care facility.

Doctors have said that with every day Sharon , 78, fails to regain consciousness, his chances for recovery diminish.

Sharon has had seven operations, including undergoing brain surgery three times in the hours and days that immediately followed his massive brain hemorrhage. In the most serious operation in recent weeks, doctors removed part of his colon that had become necrotic. Doctors have also inserted and replaced breathing and feeding tubes. In the most recent procedure, doctors drained fluid from his abdominal cavity.

Sharon suffered an initial mild stroke on Dec. 18. Doctors treated him with anti-clotting agents and scheduled a minor heart procedure for Jan. 5 to close a hole believed to have contributed to that first stroke.

Hours before the scheduled procedure, Sharon suffered a massive stroke, including heavy bleeding in the brain, and slipped into a coma.

The illness came at the height of his popularity, after he pulled Israel out of the Gaza Strip and left his hardline Likud Party to form the centrist Kadima Party.

Despite Sharon's stroke, Kadima appears set to head a new coalition government after winning 29 out of 120 parliamentary seats in March 28 elections under the leadership of Sharon's successor, acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, reports the AP.


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