Doctor: Ill. Sen. Kirk progressing after stroke

By the Associated Press | January 25, 2012 | 2:15 PM EST

A photo made Friday Jan. 20, 2012 shows U.S. Senator Mark Kirk, R-Ill., left, greeted at a press conference by State Representative Dan Brady, R-Ill., after Kirk made a town hall appearance at State Farm Insurance Company's headquarters in Bloomington, Illinois. Kirk checked himself into Lake Forest Hospital Saturday morning Jan. 21, 2012 after suffering a stroke. (AP photo/The Pantagraph, David Proeber)

CHICAGO (AP) — The neurosurgeon who operated on Mark Kirk after the Illinois senator had a stroke says he is progressing as expected but remains in serious condition.

Dr. Richard Fessler performed the emergency surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. He said Wednesday that he is still hopeful about Kirk's long-term prognosis. He says the 52-year-old senator is being monitored closely.

Kirk's stroke affected his left side, particularly movement of his left arm and his face. Surgeons removed a piece of Kirk's skull Sunday to alleviate pressure from swelling.

Doctors say the Illinois Republican is expected to make a full mental recovery, but may not regain full movement, even after rehabilitation.