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Doctor: Kennedy Brain Tumor Surgery a Success

The operation, at Duke University Medical Center, took more than three hours.

Kennedy will recuperate for about a week at the North Carolina facility, before returning to Massachusetts to begin a course of radiation and chemotherapy treatment.

“[The surgery] was very successful and accomplished our goals,” Dr. Allan Friedman, Duke’s neurosurgeon-in-chief and the doctor who perfurmed the surgery, told the Associated Press.

Kennedy family spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter told the AP that Kennedy spoke to his wife Vicki after the surgery and told her “I feel like a million bucks. I think I’ll do that again tomorrow.”

The 76-year-old Senator — the last surviving of the four Kennedy brothers and the second-longest serving member of the U.S. Senate — was diagnosed two weeks ago with a highly aggressive brain tumor. The malignant glioma is located in his left parietal lobe, a brain area that plays a role in sensation, movement and language.

Prognoses vary with the type of tumor and age of the patient, but most patients with malignant glioma survive between one and four years, according to the New York Times.

Kennedy’s choice to undergo surgery was something of a surprise — surgery is the most aggressive treatment for brain cancer, and Kennedy’s doctors had at first said it was an unlikely option.

However, they made the decision to go forward after a meeting Friday at Massachusetts General Hospital where Kennedy’s doctors and cancer experts from the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute discussed his options.

Dr. Friedman, the 59-year-old Chicago native picked to operate Monday on Kennedy, is a respected leader in the giant field of neuro-oncology, fellow medical professionals told the AP.

Friedman is Duke’s neurosurgon-in-chief and the program director of the university Division of Neurosurgery at Duke. He also serves as the deputy director of the university’s Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center.

This morning, before leaving for North Carolina, Kennedy called Senate Majority leader Harry Reid to tell him about the surgery and to discuss two pieces of legislation he has been working on — the higher education reauthorization act and mental health parity — according to the Boston Globe.