Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi undergoes face surgery

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has undergone face surgery to restore his jaw after an attack by a man in 2009, government officials say.

They say the operation lasted for four hours under general anaesthetic and was necessary to "reconstitute the anatomy and his ability to chew".

Mr Berlusconi, aged 74, was attacked in Milan in December 2009 by a man with a history of psychiatric problems.

The prime minister was hit with a souvenir model of Milan's cathedral.

'Unfit for trial'

Mr Berlusconi "underwent a maxillofacial operation with bone transplant and implant", his personal doctor Alberto Zangrillo was quoted as saying in a statement by the prime minister's office.

The statement said the operation was carried out in Milan, without providing any further details.

Mr Berlusconi also suffered a broken nose, broken teeth and gashed lips during the 2009 attack, which followed a political rally in the northern Italian city. He was taken to hospital for treatment.

But before being driven away, the prime minister climbed up on his chauffeur-driven car to try to show the crowd that he was all right.

The attacker - identified as as Massimo Tartaglia - was later ruled unfit to stand trial on charges of aggravated assault. A judge said that he was not aware of his actions during the incident.

Mr Tartaglia was ordered to remain under observation for another year in a psychiatric hospital.

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