Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk is expected to recover cognitive functions but could have some physical impairment following a weekend stroke, the neurosurgeon who operated on the senator said Monday following three hours of surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Dr. Richard Fessler said Kirk was doing “quite well” after the surgery. A four-inch-by-eight-inch portion of his skull was removed to relieve pressure from swelling and he was under sedation as doctors managed the brain trauma, Fessler said, adding he was pleased with Kirk’s response to the surgery.

The stroke occurred on the right side of the brain, meaning it likely will affect the left side of his body, the doctor said. A stroke on the left side would have affected his cognitive functions, including comprehension.

Chances for a full mental recovery were “good” but chances for a full physical recovery were “not great,” Fessler said.

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