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Former President Reagan Recovering After Hip Surgery

While Former President Ronald Reagan he is said to be resting comfortably today, his age and medical history are of concern to doctors.

In what was described as a 'fairly straight forward" hour-long operation, surgeons at St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica repaired Reagan's fractured right hip.

"He has very healthy tissues, very strong healthy bones and we're very happy with the end result at this point in time," says orthopedic surgeon Dr. Kevin Ehrhart.

The operation involved installing pins, a metal plate and several small screws in the broken bone,

"The various parts of the fracture were put back together with a series of implants--pins and screws an then the fracture heals in that position. The patients hip bone remains the same," says Erhart.

Reagan broke his hip in a fall Friday afternoon at his Bel Air home when doctors say he simply stood up and fell over. He was rushed to the hospital by ambulance:

"He was in pain very definitely, which is typical for this kind of injury," says Ehrhart.

With him every moment, except during surgery and X-rays, has been Mrs. Reagan.

"He's with Mrs. Reagan. He's very calm with Mrs. Reagan. And she feels he's back to himself. So she's happy at this point in time," says Ehrhart.

Emergency room doctors say broken hips--especially among the elderly--is the most common fracture they see.

"You don't need to have had a stroke. You don't need to be an Alzheimer's patient or have a problem with dementia. Anybody can trip and fall," says Dr. Harlan Gibbs of Glendale Adventist Medical Center.

For Reagan, its only the latest health crisis. The former president faded from public view seven years ago after revealing he has Alzheimer's disease. Before that there was treatment for prostrate, skin and colon cancer. And the 1981 assassination attempt he survived after a bullet lodged near his heart. Tonight he's in recovery again. Coincidentally at the same complex where his oldest daughter Maureen began melanoma cancer treatment just last month.

Doctors say Mr. Reagan will remain hospitalized for a week to ten days and may be able to sit in a chair as early as tomorrow or Monday. But his age--he'll turn 90 next month--and his Alzheimer's make what doctors call a serious injury more complicated.

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