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Schumacher makes 'slight improvement' after second operation

ESPN Staff
December 31, 2013 « Schumacher injuries could take days to 'reach peak' | Journalist dressed as priest tried to access Schumacher's room »
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Michael Schumacher has shown a "slight improvement" but is still in a critical condition, according to doctors treating head injuries he sustained in a skiing accident on Sunday. On Tuesday the medical team at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire in Grenoble said his situation is "better controlled" than it was on Monday, but that he was not out of danger yet and remains in a medically-induced coma in intensive care.

Schumacher's condition improved slightly on Monday, presenting an opportunity for doctors to carry out a scan on his brain later in the day. After evaluating the results the doctors were positively surprised and, with the agreement of the family, decided to undertake a second surgical intervention to reduce intercranial pressure. Following the two-hour surgery, which went according to plan, his doctors were able to say his situation has slightly improved since Monday.

"At the end of yesterday afternoon we had an improvement of intracranial pressure and we were able to carry out a scan without taking any kind on unnecessary risk," professor Jean-Francois Payen said. "That scan showed a few signs that were relatively stable and I would like to underline that, in other words, we had no sign that there was a worsening of the initial legions.

"At that moment, talking to our neurological surgeons, taking into consideration his state had slightly improved, we suggested we would carry out a surgical intervention that had not been originally envisioned but that allowed us in the evening to treat in a more efficient fashion and in a more radical fashion to try and eliminate this intracranial pressure.

"This was carried out during the night with relatively good efficiency which allowed us this morning to look at new images and we were able to see that this hematoma had been evacuated in a very correct and very satisfactory fashion and we now have a few signs that currently can allow us to feel that it is better controlled than it was yesterday."

Professor Payen added: "We are unable to say that he is out of danger. However, we now have gained a bit of time with regard to developments. But once again the coming hours are still critical hours with regard to our strategy."

The operation, which took place at 10pm on Monday night, removed a second haematoma on the left side of Schumacher's brain and was conducted by Dr Emmanual Gay.

"We cannot hide from you that last night when we saw the scan we were rather surprised, "Dr Gay said. "We were surprised by the improvement during the day and also by the scan itself. The haematoma was already big the night before, but it would have been madness to operate on him the night before, and it was thanks to this window of improvement that we made this decision, which was a difficult decision to make. But that's why we made that decision, because the window of time had come, but there is still a long path to follow."

Schumacher will stay in a medically-induced coma for as long as necessary while the doctors continue to monitor a number of lesions that remain on his brain.

"We have a medical strategy that for the moment is to correct a number of anomalies which continue," professor Payen said. "Also, we want to give ourselves some time during this phase of stability, which was not the case yesterday but is something we are witnessing today. It's true that hour by hour, and in the hours that will unfurl, there will be some important matters we have to think about for the future."

The hospital will issue updates if any changes occur in Schumacher's condition.

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