Corbett back surgery called successful

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Gov. Tom Corbett had successful back surgery this morning at Allegheny General Hospital and has officially resumed his gubernatorial duties.

Mr. Corbett, 61, had a 90-minute surgery this morning to address a narrowing of the spinal canal called spinal stenosis. He had been suffering pain and weakness in his back and lower extremities for three years, but it grew worse during his campaign for governor last year.

In a formality, Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley took over from 7:15 through 10:30 a.m. Dr. Mark Fye, the director of orthopedic spine trauma at the North Side hospital, said the governor was in good spirits after the procedure and should be up walking around by this evening.

He is expected to recuperate for 24 to 48 hours at the hospital and for a few days at his home in Shaler before returning to Harrisburg.

"I suspect he'll recover nicely from the surgery," Dr. Fye said. "The question will be over the next several weeks how his legs feel to him subjectively. We'll need to get him out of the bed and walking over the next several days."

He will rehabilitate through walking for some four to six weeks. He is also on painkillers -- morphine and Vicodin in the short-term, followed by an over-the-counter medicine such as Advil.

Mr. Corbett's wife Susan said she had to reject his first request after coming out of surgery. "As soon as he became governor he had a big smile on his face and asked for coffee. We told him that he was governor everywhere but the recovery room because he can't have that just yet," she said.

More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


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