Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu left Hadassah University Medical Center in
Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem Sunday, less than 24 hours after undergoing an emergency
, but was not expected to return to a full workload before at
least the end of the week.
Netanyahu, 63, who walked out of the hospital
arm-in-arm with his wife, Sara, thanked the medical team that carried out the
operation, and those citizens who wished him a speedy recovery.
Minister Moshe Ya’alon took over Netanyahu’s authority briefly in the middle of
the night while the prime minister was on the operating table and under a
The prime minister’s authority was returned to him
when he woke up from the surgery, following a conversation between cabinet
secretary Avichai Mendelblit and Dr. Yuval Weiss, the hospital’s
Ya’alon chaired the ministerial meeting on Sunday
evening to decide which 26 Palestinian prisoners to release prior to the
beginning of the negotiations with the Palestinians on
Netanyahu’s personal physician, Tzvi Berkovich, diagnosed
Netanyahu with an incarcerated umbilical hernia Saturday afternoon after he
complained of severe abdominal pains. Berkovich told Israel Radio that Netanyahu should be able to
return to a full workload by the end of this week, or the beginning of the
In the meantime, Netanyahu is expected to work and hold meetings in
his home. His scheduled meetings for Monday – which included a meeting with US
special envoy Martin Indyk, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and a
delegation of 26 Republican congressmen – have been canceled and will likely be
rescheduled another day this week.
An incarcerated umbilical hernia is a
congenital defect more common among babies and women than men.
carried something heavy or sneezed or it was waiting to happen,” Weiss told The
Umbilical hernia repair is surgery to fix an umbilical
hernia, in which a pouch forms from the inner lining of the abdominal cavity
that pushes through a hole in the abdominal wall at the navel. An incision is
made under the navel, with the surgeon gently pushing the contents of the
intestine back into the abdomen. Strong stitches are made to close the hole
caused by the hernia. In many cases – including Netanyahu’s – surgeons attach a
piece of mesh over the weak area to strengthen the repair.
could have undergone spinal or epidural block anesthesia that would have left
him conscious but free of pain, said Weiss, it was decided that it would be
safer for him to be put under general anesthesia for an hour.
awoke, he was able to walk out of the operating room himself to the recovery
room, Weiss said. Keyhole surgery (laparoscopy) was not needed, Weiss added,
because the surgery was superficial and not deep.
While umbilical hernias
are more common in children, they are still fairly common in adults, especially
in overweight people and in women, particularly after giving birth, according to
The operation was performed by Prof. Nissan Aviram, head of
Hadassah’s general surgery department, and by veteran Hadassah surgeon Prof.
Netanyahu was not given special care that ordinary people in
the same situation would not have been given, said Weiss. The prime minister was
operated on quickly, because surgery should be done within hours of the hernia’s
discovery so no necrosis occurs in the event of the tissue being caught in the
hole and the blood supply cut off. Without surgery, there is a risk that some
fat or part of the intestine would get incarcerated in the hernia and become
impossible to push back in.
The risks of surgery for umbilical hernia are
usually very low, unless the patient also has other serious medical
Neither Sara nor any of Netanyahu’s sons were present in the
hospital at the time of the emergency operation because it was so sudden, Weiss
said, but the family arrived later. •
Stay on top of the news - get the Jerusalem Post headlines direct to your inbox!