Dayton to undergo third back surgery

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton will undergo his third back surgery as governor on Friday help him deal with ongoing leg strength and balance issues.

The surgery, similar to procedures he’s had in 2012 and 2015, will take place at Mayo Clinic in Rochester at 8 a.m.

Dayton, 71, is often seen at public appearances with a cane to help keep his balance. The previous operations fused vertebrae in his lower back to help improve “strength and stability” in his legs, according to spokesman Matt Swenson. The governor will remain in the hospital for several days after the surgery.

“Anyone, who has observed my walking in recent months, has seen that I have difficulties with my leg strength and, occasionally, with my balance. My doctor believes that this procedure will help with both conditions,” Dayton said in a statement. “I have the utmost confidence in him and the other tremendous people who will take care of me at Mayo. After the surgery, I will be in constant touch with my commissioners and staff and fully able to carry out my responsibilities as governor, as I have immediately after previous treatments there.”

The two-term governor has had several health scares while in office. In 2016 he fainted in the middle of his State of the State address, and the following day he announced he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. He has since undergone treatment and been declared cancer free.

Dayton is not seeking re-election and retiring from politics after his term ends in January.

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