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UPDATED 2:00 p.m. - The doctors of former President and incumbent Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said on Thursday they are happy with the result of the third and hopefully "last major surgery" performed on her a day before to correct a spine problem. Doctors at the St. Luke's Medical Center in Taguig City said Arroyo, who is currently staying at the Coronary Care Unit (CCU), will have to remain in hospital for several more weeks as she recuperates from the surgery. "She has to be on leave for one month because of her difficulty in moving because of the halo vest which we cannot remove yet," said Dr. Juliet Gopez-Cervantes.
Cervantes said Arroyo might stay at the CCU between seven and 10 days, before being transferred back to a regular room. The doctor said Arroyo could be discharged in three weeks. "But actually, she can be discharged earlier than that. But we will see... hopefully the next medical bulletin will be when she will already be discharged," she said. Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Mario Ver said: "We were very happy with the procedure. Everything as planned happened. No problem was encountered. We were very happy with the outcome of the surgery." He said Arroyo will have to wear a "halo vest" for some weeks. "We are talking of weeks here para magdikit... pagnakita namin nagdidikit na tsaka lang namin tatanggalin ang halo vest," said Ver. No infection Meanwhile, Cervantes clarified that Arroyo did not suffer an infection in her neck, contrary to the hospital's previous statements. "Initially, we thought it was an infection kasi may finidng kami nung una na baka bacteria ito. But based on our analysis, the infection was not founded," she said "The problem is something mechanical that led to the implanting not being in the proper position," she added. Three operations Arroyo's third operation was scheduled last Monday but she developed fever, forcing doctors to pushed it back to Wednesday. Mrs. Arroyo underwent cervical spine surgery last July 29 at the same hospital where titanium implants and bone substitute were used to rebuild her spine. The former President had to undergo revision surgery last August 10 after doctors found out that the implants had been dislodged due to her “inherent bone problem." Cervantes admitted that Arroyo's "genetic make up is very rare" to explain why operation on Arroyo had to be postponed several times in the past. Doctors earlier had to remove four of her cervical bones and replace it with bone substitutes held in place by titanium implants. The titanium implants were later dislodged by what was thought to be an infection. The doctors later found out that her weak bones caused the implants to be dislodged. The doctors then had to chip off part of Mrs. Arroyo's pelvic bone and implant it on the affected part of the spine. They will have to wait for a few more weeks to see if the implanted bone will fuse with the main spine. - VVP, GMA News