King Juan Carlos underwent surgery for a herniated disc. It was his fourth operation in 12 months.
MADRID — The king of Spain successfully underwent surgery for a herniated disc in his lower spine in a Madrid hospital Sunday, the royal palace said.
The operation took about three hours and "proved entirely satisfactory," the palace said. It was the 75-year-old's fourth operation in 12 months, and the 12th time he has undergone surgery during his lifetime.
Neurosurgeon Manuel de la Torre, who performed the operation, told reporters that it would take between two and six months for the king to recover. The head of state probably would remain in the hospital for about a week, he said.
On his arrival at the La Merced clinic, the monarch lowered his passenger-side car window and said, "Here I am again," to journalists and television cameras gathered outside.
The head of state had hip surgery in November and has suffered several other health problems in the past two years, including knee surgery and the removal of a benign lung tumor.
It has not been a good year for the king, who largely has been admired for his role in helping steer Spain to democracy after a long period of military dictatorship under Gen. Francisco Franco.
The monarch's son-in-law, Inaki Urdangarin, who is married to the king's second daughter, Princess Cristina, is under investigation on suspicion of having used his position to embezzle several million dollars in public contracts assigned to a supposedly nonprofit foundation he established.
And Juan Carlos was vilified last year after breaking his hip while on a luxurious African safari to hunt elephants at a time when ordinary Spaniards were being buffeted by an economy entering its second recession in three years.
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