Surgeons replace Spanish king's painful knee joint
Surgeons successfully operated on Spain's widely loved 73-year-old king, Juan Carlos I, to insert an artificial right knee joint, the Madrid hospital said.
In a 90-minute operation, they replaced the right knee joint after the Spanish king complained of pain from old sporting injuries that hampered his usual activities.
"The surgery was concluded with success under epidural anaesthesia and involved carrying out a total artheroplasty of replacing the joint," said a statement by the San Jose Clinic in Madrid.
The surgery was carried out with "complete normality", said the statement, which was read out by the clinic's director, Javier de Joz.
"The king is now feeling well and will stay under observation for the next 24 hours before being transferred to a floor where he will begin specialised physiotherapy," the clinic said.
The king is a great lover of sailing and has had skiing accidents in the past.
But there has been widespread speculation about his health since he had a benign tumour removed from a lung in May 2010 when he was kept four days in hospital and then had 10 days' rest at a private Barcelona clinic.
Juan Carlos then resumed his usual activities and in September last year the royal household said he had completely recovered and would not require further tests.
News of the planned knee surgery led to a flurry of new questions about the king's health, provoking an outburst from the monarch that was widely reported in the Spanish press.
"I am feeling terrible, as you can see," the king said when asked how he felt by journalists the day after plans for the knee operation had been announced on May 30.
"What you like to do is kill me," said Juan Carlos. "This what you in the press are doing."
Born January 5, 1938 in Rome, Juan Carlos was proclaimed king November 22 1975, two days after the death of General Francisco Franco who had designated him as successor since 1969.
© 2011 AFP