Doctors treating Michael Schumacher report a 'slight improvement' in his condition
German had further surgery overnight to reduce intracranial pressure; But doctors stress Schumacher's condition remains 'critical' and are 'unable' to report that he is now out of danger
By Sky Sports Online
Last Updated: 31/12/13 6:27pm
The 44-year-old remains in a medically induced coma having undergone brain surgery on Sunday after hitting his head on a rock whilst skiing in the French Alps.
A second procedure lasting two hours was carried out on Monday evening at approximately 10pm local time.
However, the Grenoble Hospital medical team have stressed that the former F1 World Champion remains in a 'critical' condition and is not yet out of danger.
"Very late in the evening (Monday) another brain scan was carried out and we could see a slight improvement and that allowed us to tell the family that we would be able to have another surgical intervention to reduce the hematoma and that surgical intervention took place overnight," Grenoble Hospital Director General Jacqueline Hubert said.
"A new scan was carried out this morning and it shows slight improvements, slight radiological improvements."
The doctors were keen to stress that they had seen no signs of Schumacher's condition deteriorating.
"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 added.
"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 lesions.
"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."
Chief Neurologist Professor Emmanuel Gay carried out the operation on Monday evening, but says the situation is still changing by the hour.
"This was not the hematoma that had been removed the night before, this was a hematoma that was actually in the brain itself, but all the parameters last night allowed us to eliminate it and therefore together we decided to do so and at the same time to reduce intracranial pressure," Gay said.
"On the control scan that was carried out this morning the levels of intracranial pressure have improved, but the scan does show there are other legions on other parts of the brain and those legions are going to be supervised and followed up of course. We can't for the moment envisage much more - we are just going to be regularly supervising the situation on an hourly basis and that is all we can say today."
However, despite the positive news, Payen stressed Schumacher was still not out of danger and the medical team treating him were unable to make any predictions about the future.
"The situation is better controlled than it was on Monday, but we are unable to say that he is out of danger, however, we now have slightly more, we have gained a bit of time, with regard to development, but once again the coming hours are still critical," he said.
"This surgical intervention helped us to control the situation better and it is slightly better than yesterday, but to say he is out of danger, that I can't answer."
Professor Payen also revealed that they had not considered taking Schumacher out of his medically induced coma yet as they still have a number of other procedures to carry out.
"No we haven't reduced the treatment, he still remains in a coma and for the moment there is absolutely no question of evaluating from a neurological point of view and seeing how he will be when he wakes up," he said.
"At the moment we still have some other problems and some other treatments that have to be made. We are here to tell you what has happened over the last 24 hours, but we really cannot say anything about the future as it is too premature to do so.
"He is in a state of hypothermia and a medically induced coma - how long that will last? It will last as long as we judge to be necessary. There are no forecasts right now, none at all."
Family friend Professor Gerard Saillant, who is one of the leading orthopaedic surgeons in the world, was also present and whilst he is not involved in treating Schumacher he maintained no prognosis for the future should be drawn from the improvements overnight.
"I would just like to underline that we have decided to talk about objectionable signs, factual signs, what exists and what is present. Everything will be expressed in a transparent fashion, but it would be dishonest on our part and on your part to draw any conclusions from this about the future whether this be tomorrow, or six months or two years. It would be stupid to talk about it."
The doctors in Grenoble also revealed that transferring Schumacher to his native Germany had not been considered as the risks were too high.
"For the moment to envisage a transfer would be dangerous because of his medical condition which is still very fragile," Payen said.
"Afterwards that question will arise and we will decide once again in a collegial fashion at what point this transfer could be considered. However, once again at the moment, with the work we are carrying out as a medical team, with the support that we have from the large medical community, we feel it is important for him to be here and to be treated here."
Professor Gay emphasised that despite removing some hematoma in the latest operation, the scan still shows more in the brain, but says they will be unable to remove it.
"There is still some blood, there are still some hematoma everywhere - you cannot think that the scan is completely clear and that is why the situation must be looked at hour by hour because it is a serious brain injury and it could still develop," Gay confirmed.
"The others are not accessible - we are unable to have access to them - they will be supervised. They are not the same size as the one we operated on last night, so the situation is not the same at all. We do not intend to eliminate those other hematoma."
The hospital say they do not plan to hold daily press conferences and will only hold such updates on occasions when, such as today, there is progress to report.
Schumacher, who initially ended his F1 career at the end of 2006, retired for a second time in 2012 after a three-season comeback with Mercedes.
The German, who also raced for Jordan, Benetton and Ferrari, won the last of his world titles in 2004.
He won two with Benetton in 1994 and 1995 before moving to Ferrari and winning five in a row from 2000. The 44-year-old has 91 career wins.