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Thursday, February 22, 2024
Feb. 22, 2024

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Brazilian president recovering after surgery


RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was recovering in a hospital Friday after undergoing a successful hip-replacement operation, which is likely to put a temporary halt to his frequent international trips but otherwise not disrupt his activities.

Dr. Roberto Kalil told journalists Friday that the leftist leader would soon be transferred to his room at the Hospital Sirio-Libanes in the capital, Brasilia, after successful surgery.

Lula, 77, is expected to spend a few days in the hospital and to return to the presidential palace early next week. He also underwent minor eyelid surgery, Kalil said.

The government had said Lula would remain president throughout instead of temporarily passing authority to Vice President Geraldo Alckmin.

“The impact of Lula’s surgery will probably be small and should not affect the decision-making process or negotiations in a significant way,” said Paulo Calmon, a political science professor at the University of Brasilia.

Recovery for hip-replacement surgery varies from patient to patient, but most can resume light, day-to-day activities within three to six weeks, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Many patients initially use a cane, crutches or a walker until balance and strength improve to avoid falls that could jeopardize the surgery’s success, the orthopedic organization said.

But Lula joked Tuesday that nobody would see him with any type of walking aid. “You won’t see me with a walker; you won’t see me with crutches. You’ll always see me as beautiful as if I hadn’t even had surgery,” he said, adding that he has been in pain since August 2022.

Lula is the oldest president in Brazil’s history. During the 2022 election campaign, he often joked that despite being over 70, “I have the energy of a 30-year-old and the lust of a 20-year-old.”