Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle is recovering from spinal surgery this afternoon, an operation that went without complication, Emory University Dr. John Heller said.
Heller performed the nearly two-hour procedure at Emory’s Orthopaedics and Spine Hospital in Tucker.
“The surgery was rather of matter of fact, went according to plan,” Heller said. “There were no complications noted to date. The lieutenant governor is recovering rather well and is in perfectly good spirits.”
If Cagle continues to progress as planned, Heller said, he could be released Tuesday morning.
Cagle, 43, had surgery to repair a degenerative condition in his cervical spine – in his neck. The procedure involved bone grafts, Heller said.
“The nature of his problem involved two different levels in his neck,” Heller said. “It generally was a wear and tear process involving a disc that joins two veterbrae in at one level and a joint at his neck in another.”
Cagle should know in “days or weeks” if the surgery solved the problem, Heller said. In an earlier interview with the AJC, Cagle said the situation caused growing numbness down his left arm, the possibility that paralysis could extend to his left leg, and “unbelievable” pain.
But, Heller said Monday, it could be “months before he knows if his bone grafts have healed properly.”
To allow that healing to occur, Heller said, Cagle must submit to some “behavioral modifications.”
Those modifications involve avoiding excessive loads, avoiding certain sports or hauling heavy briefcases, Heller said. Cagle needs, the doctor said, to experience a “normal, sedentary life” for a while.
But, Heller added, once fully healed, Cagle should be “good to go,” and will be fine to continue his job and his bid for re-election in 2010.