SAO PAULO – The abdominal operation performed Sunday on Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, the fourth surgical procedure he has had to undergo since being stabbed during a campaign rally in 2018, was a “success” and he should be released from the hospital later this week, doctors said.
“The patient, who is in stable clinical condition, will recover in his room. On the recommendation of doctors, visits will be restricted for the time being,” Sao Paulo’s Hospital Vila Nova Star said in a statement.
The operation, which was needed to correct a small incision hernia that formed due to weakening of the surrounding muscle caused by previous surgeries, was considered of medium complexity and a low-risk procedure, but it still took nearly twice as much time to complete as estimated.
The operation at Sao Paulo’s Hospital Vila Nova Star started at 7:30 am and lasted just over five hours, hospital spokesmen said.
Presidential spokesman Gen. Otavio do Rego Barros said Bolsonaro transferred power temporarily to Vice President Hamilton Mourao, who will serve as interim president until at least Thursday, when the president is expected to be released from the hospital.
“Following the law, the president transferred power to the vice president. The expectation is that he will have it on an interim basis for five days, as of Sunday. The five days are a technical period and not the one for the recovery. After that period, we will evaluate (if Bolsonaro returns to work), but the decision is technically (for the doctors to make),” the presidential spokesman said.
The 64-year-old Bolsonaro was in surgery from 7:35 am until 12:40 pm at the private hospital in Sao Paulo’s upscale Itaim district.
The operation was performed by chief surgeon Dr. Antonio Macedo and his team, the hospital said.
Macedo said there were no complications despite the length of the operation.
“We can estimate two hours and take four. That’s normal. The important thing is to not rush and have everything done well. Normally, hernia correction surgery does not take so long, but we did not expect it to be so attached to the abdominal tissues,” the surgeon said.
Macedo said the president would be evaluated daily by doctors and magnetic imaging tests were not expected to be needed for now.
The head of state will go on a liquid diet starting Monday and will initially have visits restricted, Macedo said.
“Regarding visits, we will try to keep the president from engaging in normal activities, like he does in Brasilia, because the doctors indicate that there is a need for recovery. There is no ban on visits, but on the recommendation of the doctors, we understand that they have to be avoided,” Rego Barros said.
Bolsonaro, who went on a liquid diet last Thursday and was required to fast for seven hours before having the operation, was admitted to the private hospital on Saturday evening, spending the night in a room before being prepared for surgery.
The leader of Brazil’s far-right flew into Sao Paulo on the presidential plane Saturday evening accompanied by first lady Michelle Bolsonaro and his three oldest children – Sen. Flavio Bolsonaro, Congressman Eduardo Bolsonaro and Rio de Janeiro Councilman Carlos Bolsonaro.
Dr. Leandro Echenique, a member of the president’s medical team, said the operation was simpler than the previous procedures and common among those who have had abdominal surgery.
Bolsonaro said on Friday, the first anniversary of the stabbing, that he felt born again and had nearly lost his life.
Assailant Adelio Bispo, who was arrested on the same day as the attack, was acquitted in June by a court that cited his mental problems as the reason for the attack.
Bolsonaro’s attorneys have challenged the ruling in an attempt to prevent Bispo from going unpunished.