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Doctor Details Skull Surgery on Illusionist

October 17, 2003|From Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — Doctors surgically removed part of illusionist Roy Horn's skull after he was mauled by a tiger during a performance Oct. 3 at the Mirage hotel-casino, a neurosurgeon said.

Dr. Lonnie Hammargren said about one-fourth of the right side of the Siegfried & Roy star's skull was removed to relieve cranial pressure. He said Horn suffered a "pretty big stroke" but that his paralysis might only be temporary.

Horn was in critical condition Thursday at University Medical Center in Las Vegas. Hammargren, who is in private practice, said it was unclear when Horn would undergo surgery to reattach the piece of skull.

UMC spokeswoman Cheryl Persinger said the hospital was investigating whether patient confidentially had been violated. Hammargren, a former Nevada lieutenant governor, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he spoke out to correct misinformation about the procedure. He didn't operate on Horn, but said he talked with Horn's surgeon.

Hammargren said Horn's surgeons performed a decompressive craniectomy, which involves removing about a quarter of the skull. He said that until it can be replaced, Horn's skull had been implanted in a pouch in Horn's abdomen.

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