King to undergo more surgery to treat infected artificial hip

Monarch will need eight weeks to six months to recover Doctors stress that this kind of condition is “normal” with such a prosthesis

Natalia Junquera
Dr Miguel Cabanela (right) enters the press conference with the head of the King's household, Rafael Spottorno.
Dr Miguel Cabanela (right) enters the press conference with the head of the King's household, Rafael Spottorno.Gonzalo Arroyo (Getty)

King Juan Carlos will undergo another surgery “in the coming days” in Madrid to replace his artificial hip, which has become infected, Zarzuela Palace officials announced on Friday.

At a special news conference at the king’s residence, physicians explained the procedure, which will mark the fourth time he has had an operation on the joint. “The treatment for an infected prosthesis has always been surgery and consists of replacing the prosthesis,” said Dr Miguel Cabanela, a Spanish hip-replacement specialist who works at the Mayo Clinic in the United States and will head the medical team that will operate on the king.

Cabanela stressed that infections from this type of artificial hip were “normal.”

Rafael Spottorno, Zarzuela palace spokesman, said that the king has no intention of abdicating on the basis of his deteriorating health. This will be the fifth time the king has had an operation during the last 18 months.

Recovery will take between eight weeks and six months, which will require the monarch to “adapt” to a new agenda, said Spottorno, who threw into doubt whether the king will be able to attend the October 12 military parade or the upcoming Ibero-American Summit in Panama, which is also next month.

Cabanela said that it was still to be determined whether the procedure will be performed in one or two phases. The king will remain in the hospital for at least a week, and will have to take antibiotics for four to six weeks.

“The king has been in pain all through September, which was evident by those who have seen him,” Spottorno said. “As such, we consulted with the best specialist in hip-replacement surgery, Dr Miguel Cabanela.”

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