Skip to main content

Malala: 'I'm feeling better' after skull surgery

By CNN Staff
updated 11:41 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Malala Yousufzai says she's feeling all right after double surgeries in the UK
  • Shot in the head by Taliban in October, Malala hopes to be fully recovered in about a month
  • Doctors Sunday attached a titanium device to her skull and implanted a hearing device
  • "She's already talking about furthering her cause," a doctor says

London (CNN) -- Malala Yousufzai, the Pakistani teenager who defied Taliban attackers to promote education for girls, says she's "feeling all right" after two weekend surgeries.

Doctors attached a titanium plate to her skull and implanted a cochlear device to restore hearing to her left ear.

Read more: The girl the Taliban wanted dead

"I'm happy that both of the operations are successful," she said Monday from her bed at a Birmingham hospital. "I can walk a little bit and I'm feeling better."

She hopes to be fully recovered in about a month, she said.

Hospital scans show Malala head injury
The schoolgirl who took on the Taliban

Malala "has no long-lasting brain injuries" after being shot in the head by Taliban gunmen last October, her brain surgeon, Dr. Anwen White, said Monday.

Read more: Malala's journey from near death to recovery

"She won't need any further surgery," White said.

The five-hour operation took place Sunday at a Birmingham hospital. After surgeons attached the titanium plate and inserted the implant, the 15-year-old Malala was "very focused and enthusiastic," White said.

Shortly after the shooting, Malala's brain swelled dangerously, so doctors in Pakistan extracted a section of her skull about the size of a hand. Otherwise, the pressure in her cranium would have caused severe brain damage, likely killing her. Doctors then temporarily implanted the skull piece in her abdomen -- a common procedure to preserve bone fragments for later use.

The skull piece would have no longer fit properly without the addition of some titanium parts, as her head and the bone fragment have changed.

Titanium also has a low incidence of infection and can be handcrafted to near perfection, doctors said.

Pakistan's Malala: Global symbol, but still just a kid

On Saturday, before the surgery, Malala credited her survival to "the prayers of the people."

"Because of these prayers, God has given me this new life and I want to serve and I want every girl, every child to be educated," she said.

"She's already talking about furthering her cause," said the hospital's medical director, Dr. Dave Rosser. The terrorists have said they will target her again.

Malala had become deaf when gunfire from the attack broke the delicate bones that help turn sound into sensory impulses to the brain.

The cochlear device will not allow her to hear completely naturally, Rosser said. But it will restore enough function to the damaged ear to allow her to hear things such as an approaching car, which obviously is important for safety.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 6:38 PM EDT, Wed October 9, 2013
The teen blogger simply wanted an education. But she became a symbol of defiance against militants, empowering young women worldwide.
updated 1:28 PM EDT, Wed October 9, 2013
More than three million girls are out of school in Pakistan, while spending on education has decreased to 2.3 percent of GDP in 2010.
updated 1:20 PM EDT, Wed October 9, 2013
According to UNESCO, regional neighbors fare better in getting a literate population than Pakistan.
updated 4:20 AM EDT, Fri August 8, 2014
Malala's journey from Pakistan hospital to the United Nations, author and education rights activist.
updated 3:12 PM EST, Mon January 28, 2013
Becky Anderson checks in on Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai, who has become a global symbol for girls' education.
updated 6:33 PM EDT, Wed October 9, 2013
The Pakistani Taliban issues a new death threat against Malala, who turns the other cheek.
updated 1:44 PM EDT, Fri October 19, 2012
Malala
Hundreds of messages from around the world were received by CNN for Malala Yousufzai, the Pakistani teen activist attacked by the Taliban.
updated 5:31 AM EST, Wed January 30, 2013
The University Hospital in Birmingham, UK show scans and 3D images of Malala's head wound.
updated 9:07 AM EST, Sat November 10, 2012
Pakistan has a new heroine and a new cause -- a girl's right to education. Now the government vows to get every child into school by end 2015.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT