Corbett surgery a success

Gov. Corbett , who was treated Monday for chronic leg pain. Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley took over from 7:15 to 10:30 a.m.
Gov. Corbett , who was treated Monday for chronic leg pain. Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley took over from 7:15 to 10:30 a.m. (BRADLEY C. BOWER / AP)

Corrective procedure for back, leg troubles.

Posted: May 17, 2011

Gov. 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 underwent 90-minute corrective surgery.

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

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," she said, "because he can't have that just yet."

Mark Fye, director of orthopedic spine trauma at the Pittsburgh 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 Tuesday or Wednesday and then recuperate for a few days at his home in Shaler.

"I suspect he'll recover nicely from the surgery," 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 by walking for four to six weeks. He also is on painkillers - morphine and Vicodin in the short term, to be followed by an over-the-counter medicine such as ibuprofen.

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