ROCHESTER, Minn. (AP) _ Former President Bush had his left hip replaced Tuesday morning at the Mayo Clinic, and the clinic reported that things went well.

The surgery was completed at 7:40 a.m., the clinic said in a statement. The clinic did not say how long the surgery lasted. Bush, 76, was resting comfortably in his hospital room.

He was expected to be hospitalized for five days.

The surgery came as the former president awaits the outcome of legal rulings that could determine if his son Gov. George W. Bush won the November presidential election.

As his father had the surgery, ``I said a little prayer for him,'' the Texas governor told reporters.

Former first lady Barbara Bush also had successful hip replacement surgery at the Mayo Clinic in December 1997.

Hip replacement surgery is a way to relieve chronic pain due to arthritis, a break or other conditions. Nearly 310,000 total or partial hip replacements are performed each year. The clinic did not say if Bush's surgery was partial or total replacement. The former first lady had total hip replacement.

Total replacement usually takes a few hours, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Surgeons remove damaged cartilage and bone, then position new metal and plastic joint surfaces to restore the alignment and function of the hip. In partial replacement, only the head of the femur, or the ``ball'' portion of the joint, is replaced; in total replacement, both the ball and socket portions of the joint are replaced.

Bush was hospitalized in February in Texas to have tests for an irregular heartbeat. His physician, Dr. Ben Orman, said at the time the former president ``is in excellent health overall.''

Both Bush and his wife also have a thyroid disorder, called Graves' disease, which can be controlled with medication.

The former president made highly publicized skydives in 1997 and 1999 and has said he wants to jump again in 2004 for his 80th birthday.


On the Net:

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: