Brazil's Lula awake and well after hip surgery, say doctors

BRASILIA (Reuters) -Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's hip surgery was successfully completed, and he is now awake and well, his doctors said on Friday afternoon.

Lula underwent surgery for hip arthrosis caused by the extremely painful wear and tear of the cartilage on the head of the femur.

The procedure, with general anesthetic, is aimed at restoring the function of his right hip by arthroplasty, which involves removing the head of the femur to implant a prosthesis.

The surgery went smoothly and Lula will not need to be admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), one of his doctors, Roberto Kalil told reporters in a press conference.

He should be transferred to a room in the next few hours.

Lula has said he has been in constant pain for more than a year, though this has not stopped him from traveling to dozens of countries since he took office in January.

He is set to remain in hospital until Tuesday and then spend three weeks at the presidential residence recovering.

"I have to be a little careful because the operation seems simple, but physiotherapy and dedicated treatment are essential for recovery," he said earlier this week in a TV interview. "I will take great care of myself. I'm very optimistic."

Lula said he will only resume his presidential trips abroad at the end of November, when he will travel to the United Arab Emirates to attend the COP28 global climate meeting.

"Until then, I will stay here in Brasilia. I won't be able to catch a plane," he told the government TV channel.

Vice President Geraldo Alckmin will take up some of Lula's duties and public appearances, but there are no plans for him to become acting president at any time, government officials said.

Lula said he put off the surgery because he wanted to take office first and lead the country back to normality after political turmoil under his predecessor, as well as repair Brazil's international standing.

"I wanted to tell the whole world that Brazil is back."

(Reporting by Anthony Boadle and Lisandra Paraguassu; Editing by Steven Grattan, Christina Fincher and David Gregorio)