Corbett's back surgery successful

Should be released by Wednesday

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Gov. Tom Corbett is back to being governor and having strength in his weakened legs.

The governor, 61, had successful back surgery Monday morning at Allegheny General Hospital after seeing doctors about a month ago after his persistent back and leg troubles had worsened. He was diagnosed with a narrowing of the spinal canal called spinal stenosis and had a 90-minute corrective surgery.

In a formality, Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley took over from 7:15 through 10:30 a.m.

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.

Mark Fye, the director of orthopaedic spine trauma at the North Side hospital, said the governor was in good spirits after the procedure and was expected to be up and walking by Monday night. He could leave the hospital by today or Wednesday and then recuperate further for a few days at his home in Shaler.

"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."

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

Mr. Corbett had suffered from leg pain for some three years, but it grew worse during his campaign for governor last year, Mrs. Corbett said. When he still felt weakness and numbness this year, he saw physicians about the problem.

Tim McNulty: or 412-263-1581. Read the Early Returns blog at or on Twitter @EarlyReturns.


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