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Back on Twitter after twin surgeries

Feb. 11: Amitabh Bachchan underwent two abdominal surgeries at a Mumbai hospital today and was back on Twitter by night to thank his “extended family” for seeing him through five hours in the operation theatre.

“Back ..!! Thank you for your prayers.. your love and wishes never fail.. indebted for life, one that I shall never be able to pay back,” he tweeted around 9pm. “Took almost 5 hrs on the OT, but could feel the concern and wishes of the TwFmXt (Twitter extended family, which is how Bachchan refers to his followers) — every minute .. you all are incredible .. thank you.”

Bachchan also announced that he had, not one, but two operations. “Took long because 2 surgeries had to be done on either side..yes there is pain, but nothing good in life ever achieved without it !” he wrote.

Neither son Abhishek nor the hospital spokesperson, who had briefed the media in the afternoon, had given any hint of this.

“The operation was minor and it lasted approximately three hours. He is fine and in the recovery room. If all goes well, he will be discharged on Sunday,” Abhishek had said.

At night, father and son had an exchange on Twitter. “It’s past your bedtime Auro!!. Stop tweeting and back to bed. :-),” Junior Bachchan wrote. “OK … Paa !! Am already in bed .. been on it the whole day,” Sr Bachchan shot back.

The 69-year-old actor was admitted this morning to Seven Hills, the same hospital where his granddaughter was born. Wife Jaya, Abhishek and daughter-in-law Aishwarya were with him.

“Though the admission took place at 8am, they had come in early while it was still dark to avoid attention. They prayed at the Balaji temple on the premises before admission,” said a hospital source.

The actor was wheeled in for the surgery around 9.30am.

“Mr Bachchan was operated on for hernia in his small intestine,” said the source.

Neither the hospital nor the family would confirm the ailment.

“I will not comment… it is his personal thing. All I can say is that he underwent an abdomen surgery,” Seven Hills spokesperson Dr Asthana said.

But another blog by Bachchan — this one posted in May 2010 — confirmed that he had hernia.

“There are now two urgent hernia in the lower abdomen which have swelled up dangerously and cause me problems,” Bachchan had written then. “Sharp pains when I stand for too long or walk too much. During dance and action scenes there is huge pain.... So the doctors have been after me for a surgery. I have been avoiding it….”

Bachchan has suffered from intestinal ailments since his near fatal injury while filming a fight scene for the 1982 film Coolie. In 2005, he underwent surgery for diverticulitis of the small intestine.

A senior surgeon in Delhi not associated with Bachchan’s treatment said the actor’s two previous surgeries — in 1982 and 2005 — could themselves be seen as risk factors for hernia.

“Any previous surgery that has involved the abdomen is likely to weaken the abdominal wall,” said Prabal Roy, a laparascopic surgeon at the Asian Institute of Medical Sciences in Faridabad. “A weakened abdominal wall is a risk factor for hernia, a condition in which tissues within the abdomen push outwards on the wall.”

Roy said a bilateral hernia may account for Bachchan’s tweet about surgery on both sides -- if he indeed had surgery for hernia today. “This is a condition in which hernia develops on the right and left sides of the groin, and is associated with straining in elderly men.”

A standard surgical procedure to repair a hernia would involve grafting a synthetic mesh over the herniated zone of the abdominal wall, Roy said. The size of the mesh would correspond to the size of the area affected. “The mesh forms a scaffold on which the body places its own tissues to strengthen the weakened wall,” he said.

The Seven Hills source said: “He is expected to be on his feet by tomorrow. He can go home then or can stay back till Monday.”

The Bachchans have, however, booked the hospital’s 8th floor VIP suite no. 5081 for five days.

The floor, which has four such suites, is tightly guarded with access only by a smart card. The suite has one master room for the patient, a guest room with two beds, a cyber and study area and a private kitchen and dining room for the family.


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