The severely damaged skull of a Northumberland man involved in a car crash 50 years ago has regenerated itself, a process thought to be rare.
Doctors operated to treat an infection in Gordon Moore’s head and found the bone had grown back beneath the metal plate inserted after the accident.
This would not be unusual in a child, whose bones are growing, but there are very few documented cases in adults.
Doctors said it was particularly remarkable given the size of the area.
Mr Moore, from Ridsdale, made headlines previously by becoming among the first tourists to visit Iraq and Afghanistan.
The former postmaster flipped his car while driving near Berwick in 1955.
The metal plate which was inserted was itself dented three years later in a subsequent car crash.
His new skull reportedly follows the contours of this dent.
Mr Moore said the plate had never bothered him, but he was relieved he would no longer “set the alarms off at the airport”.
His consultant, Param Bhattathiri, told the Newcastle-based Evening Chronicle: “It was a great surprise to find the skull had grown back.
“You would expect it in a child, but not in an adult, certainly not in an area of bone so big.”
But he added it was unusual in any event to remove a metal plate after so many years.
Tests are to be carried out to ascertain the thickness and strength of the new bone.