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Docs sew skull fragment in patient's belly

Deliberately, of course

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Surgeons obliged to remove a fragment of skull from a man with head injuries inserted it into his belly for safekeeping and three months later successfully reattached the missing piece of cranium, the Telegraph and others report.

Lorry driver Michael Donnelly, 42, was left unconcious after an attack outside a pub in Havant, Hampshire in May. Doctors at Southampton General Hospital's neurological unit had to remove several skull fragments from his brain and decided to chop out a section to relieve pressure caused by his brain swelling.

The resulting spare piece was placed just under Donnelly's skin next to his intestine. The traditional storage method involves sterilisation, sealing in a bag and popping in the freezer. June Farrar, clinical services manager at the neurological department at Southampton General Hospital, explained: "We can still store the pieces in the old way if people prefer, as some patients don't like the idea of having a bit of their own skull inside them. But this technique is perfectly safe and an easy way to make sure it is protected and it takes just a few minutes."

After Donnelly's head was restored to its former completeness, the father of seven admitted: "Having it put back in was great because feeling the piece of skull inside me was a bit unsettling. I got used to it but am glad its back in its rightful place." ®

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