King Leaves Hospital: Spain's Leader Recovering From Hip Surgery

By IScience Times Staff Reporter on December 2, 2012 7:26 PM EST

Spain's King Juan Carlos sits in a car after being released from a hospital after a hip operation in Madrid December 2, 2012.
Spain's King Juan Carlos sits in a car after being released from a hospital after a hip operation in Madrid December 2, 2012. (Photo: Reuters)

Spain's King Juan Carlos left the hospital in Madrid with a promising bill of health. After undergoing reconstructive surgery on his left hip joint, Spain's leader was discharged after nine days in the hospital.

The 74-year-old monarch promised to "take things very easy" as he recuperates. Orthopedist Angel Villamor, who supervised the surgery, said he convinced Juan Carlos to remain in the hospital for a few more days so he could do additional physical therapy exercises there. Villamor believed that adding more therapy sessions would  "more efficiently and more rapidly" help the king heal.

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Villamor was happy to report that even mid-week the king was walking "on his own" with the help of crutches. The 90-minute surgery was conducted last Friday evening. This is the third operation the king has had in that area of his body in the last two-and-a-half years.

Recent polls have shown that the king, who began his reign in November 1975 two days after General Francisco Franco's death, has favorable approval ratings throughout the country. And in  2008 he was considered the most popular leader in all Ibero-America.

Now Spaniards wonder how long the 74-year-old - who previously had knee surgery and a benign lung tumor - will be able to govern. Hip reconstruction can involve hip replacement, hip resurfacing, a hip osteotomy or hip arthroscopy. Most procedues are prompted by severe arthritis or serious joint damage.

Recovery times vary based on age, health and success of the individual procedure. Fewer than one percent of patients reportedly die from the surgery. But many experience chronic pain after reconstruction that does not subside. Nerve damage is another possible complication from surgery, but not as common as chronic pain.

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