VENEZUELA, November 16 – Diego Maradona has undergone a second gastric bypass surgery in Venezuela and is feeling “fine,” the Argentine football legend’s doctor said Monday.
Maradona, 55, underwent the surgery Sunday at a private clinic in second city Maracaibo, said Dr Carlos Felipe Chaux, a Colombian surgeon who specializes in weight-loss procedures.
“He told me he was feeling fine, that he wasn’t in any pain,” Chaux told AFP, adding that Maradona was already up and walking Sunday after his operation.
Chaux, who performed Maradona’s first gastric bypass 10 years ago in Colombia, said the new surgery was needed “because he had gained weight, and to correct a gastrogastric fistula” — a common complication of the stomach-stapling procedure.
Two Venezuelan specialists also took part in the three-hour surgery.
The goal is to help Maradona lose 30 to 35 kilograms (66 to 77 pounds) in the next 12 months and 75 kilos long term, said Chaux.
Maradona has become increasingly portly again since undergoing his first gastric bypass a decade ago.
But his doctor said the Argentine great was in good health overall.
“He’s in very good physical condition and very good health. His heart is very well and all his vital signs are normal,” he said.
Maradona will stay at least eight days in Maracaibo then travel to the capital Caracas to complete the 12- to 15-day recovery period, Chaux said.
With its recession-racked economy hit by severe shortages of medicine and hospital supplies, Venezuela may seem an odd destination for such surgery. But Chaux said it was the logical choice for Maradona, who was friends with late socialist president Hugo Chavez and maintains close ties with his successor, Nicolas Maduro.
“He loves this country and its people love him. Plus Maracaibo is on the seashore, which he likes,” said the doctor.
The 1986 World Cup champion, considered one of the greatest players of all time, has suffered a series of health problems over the years ranging from drug addiction and alcoholism to obesity.