(HOUSTON) -- Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords on Thursday was finally able to remove the helmet she had been forced to wear ever since she underwent surgery to remove part of her skull as a result of the bullet wound to the brain she suffered in January.
The Arizona Democrat was holding a meet-and-greet event in Tucson when police said Jared Lee Loughner shot her at point-blank range. Six people were killed and 12 others besides Giffords were wounded in the assault.
On Wednesday, doctors used a plastic implant to close the hole in Giffords's skull that was created to relieve pressure as her brain swelled because of her wound. Doctors reported Thursday that everything went well.
Neurosurgeon Dong Kim, who performed the operation, said, "I started calling her gorgeous Gabby today. She hasn't looked in the mirror yet, but as soon as she does, she'll be very pleased."
Giffords' chief of staff, Pia Carusone, acknowledged that her boss hated wearing helmets, even the one decorated with the Arizona flag.
True to her fighting spirit, Giffords was recovered enough Thursday to resume rehabilitation at TIRR Memorial in Houston.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio