Spain’s King Juan Carlos Undergoes Spine Surgery

Spain’s King Juan Carlos underwent spinal surgery on Sunday in Madrid. The king’s surgery for herniated discs in his lower spine was successful.

The palace announced that the operation took about three hours to complete and that it “proved entirely satisfactory.”

The king’s spinal surgery was the fourth operation for the 75-year-old in the last year, reports The Miami Herald. Neurosurgeon Manuel de la Torre performed the operation.

He stated that the king’s recovery will likely be between two and six months. The Spanish king is expected to stay in the hospital for at least a week before he will be allowed to return to the palace.

King Juan Carlos’ spinal surgery took place almost four months after he had hip surgery in November. He joked as he arrived at the La Merced clinic on Sunday, saying, “Here I am again.”

The Vancouver Sun notes that it has not been a good year health-wise for the king. He was widely admired for his role in steering Spain toward democracy after a long period of military dictatorship.

King Juan Carlos was instrumental in the transition to democracy, helping to oust General Francisco Franco. Despite the turn to democracy, Spain’s economy, like much of Europe and the United States, has suffered in recent years.

But King Juan Carlos has run into trouble recently, in light of Spain’s terrible economy. The king was vilified after he broke his hip during a luxurious African safari to hunt elephants. The injury happened in 2012, the same time that Spain was suffering an unemployment rate of about 20 percent.

The economy suffered its second recession in just three years. The Spanish king’s son-in-law is also under investigation. Inaki Urdangarin, who is married to Princess Cristina, allegedly embezzled several million dollars in public contracts that were assigned to a non-profit organization he set up.

King Juan Carlos’ spinal surgery is the 12th operation the Spanish monarch has undergone in his lifetime.

[Image by א (Aleph), [CC-BY-SA-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons]