Wearing a white patterned headscarf and long gray dress, Malala walked slowly out of Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham on Thursday, helped by a nurse, and waved shyly as she went through the door.
She was shot in the head and neck by men who blocked the school bus in which she was riding near her home in Mingora in Pakistan's Swat Valley and asked for her by name. She was rushed to a local hospital, then flown to the Birmingham hospital, which specializes in military casualties, a week later for specialist neurosurgery.
A hospital statement said Friday that she would return there "in late January or early February to undergo cranial reconstructive surgery as part of her long-term recovery."
Dr. David Rosser, the medical director, praised Malala, who he said "has worked hard with the people caring for her to make excellent progress in her recovery."
The teenager, who spoke out against the Taliban's opposition to education for girls, focused attention on the plight of women and girls around the world who are struggling for education and social freedoms under repressive regimes. The Taliban has vowed to target her again.
Her family, who traveled to Birmingham from their home in Pakistan, may now stay in Britain, where Malala's father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, has been appointed education attache at the Pakistani Consulate in Birmingham.
[For the record, 6:38 p.m. Jan. 4: A previous version of this post said Malala left the hospital Friday. She was discharged Thursday.]