King Juan Carlos of Spain, 75, underwent a third hip replacement surgery less than two years after the last hip treatment, because the tissue surrounding the implant had become infected.
Carlos has undergone seven surgeries since 2010, including having both his hips replaced during three surgeries last year. The first hip replacement surgery came after he fell during an elephant-hunting holiday in Botswana. The monarch never gained full mobility after his last hip surgery and requires a cane to walk. It is not reported what type of artificial hip Carlos received.
Traditional hip implants are made with ceramic or plastic parts. But in the past decade, artificial hips have been made with metal parts. The devices were widely used until reports of premature failures began pouring in. Instead of lasting 20 years or longer, the devices were failing in five years or less. In many cases, the metal would begin to corrode, inflaming the tissue around the implant and causing pain and limited mobility. In some cases, metal ions leeched into the bloodstream of patients causing a type of blood poisoning known as metallosis.
Other surgeries the king has endured in the past several years include having a benign tumor removed from his lung in May 2010, a knee replacement surgery and repair of a torn Achilles tendon in 2011, and the most recent, surgery to repair a slipped disk last March.
Carlos is most known for his role in steering Spain to democracy after the death of longtime dictator General Francisco Franco in 1975.