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Spain's King faces new hip surgery

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Spain's King faces new hip surgery
King Juan Carlos of Spain in August. File photo: Jaime Reina/AFP
09:15 CEST+02:00
Spain's ailing 75-year-old King Juan Carlos is to set to go under the knife in a a second operation on his left hip on Tuesday, the royal palace said.

The head of the royal household, Rafael Spottorno, had announced Friday that surgeons would replace the King's artificial hip because an infection had developed in the area, less than a year after it was implanted to ease his arthritis.

He also had his right hip replaced after breaking it in a fall during a controversial elephant safari in Botswana last year at the height of Spain's financial crisis.

Tuesday's operation will be the monarch's eighth in three years and may require follow-up surgery, according to his US-based Spanish surgeon Miguel Cabanela, who predicted a convalescence of between two and six months.

Should King Juan Carlos resign? See The Local's opinion piece on the subject.

It will take place at Madrid's Quiron University Hospital, the palace said in a statement Sunday.

In addition to his health problems, Juan Carlos has weathered corruption scandals that have damaged his popularity.

The combination has prompted open debate over whether the king should abdicate in favour of his son, Crown Prince Felipe.

But Spottorno said the king, who walks with a crutch and has appeared frail in recent months, had "at no time considered abdication", adding: "He is not impeded in his duties and there has been no reason to discuss a regency."

A corruption investigation opened at the end of 2011 centring on the husband of Juan Carlos's youngest daughter Cristina, Inaki Urdangarin.

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