At 7:15 Monday morning Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett signed over control of the executive branch to Lt. Governor Jim Cawley as he went under general anesthesia for back surgery. 90 minutes later he was in the recovery room, taking back control following what doctors are calling a successful surgery.
Corbett began complaining of pain and weakness in his legs during the campaign. “There were a lot of hours in the car and standing at receptions so… [he] thought at first that once he was off the campaign trail and with a few months of exercising it would improve,” said Corbett’s wife Susan, “When it didn’t we started investigating what the issue was. “
The issue turned out to be spinal stenosis, which is a narrowing of the spinal canal that results in a compression of nerves. In the Governor’s case the compression was in his lower back. Allegheny General Hospital Orthopedic Spine Trauma surgeon Dr. Mark Fye says the prognosis for recover is good. “He might have some residual numbness and I do believe his back pain will settle down over the next few days,” said Fye. Corbett apparently had been suffering from some level of back and leg pain for nearly three years.
Corbett will be given a patient administered pain killer for the first few hours and then will be given prescription pain killers to be take by mouth after that.
Doctors say the biggest post operative risk associated with this procedure is deep vein thrombosis or blood clots. “The quicker that someone will become ambulatory the better for the patient,” said Fye. Doctors expect to have Corbett up and walking later today. Special boots used to enhance circulation in the legs are also being used and the governor will resume a course of daily aspirin in a few days.