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Hospital says Steve Jobs in 'excellent' state following liver transplant

In a bid to settle the question of his health once and for all, Apple chief Steve Jobs has acknowledged that he did undergo a liver transplant at Methodist University Hospital and that he has come out of surgery in good condition.

The executive gave permission to the Tennessee hospital to publish the news after a leak on Friday had all but confirmed the operation in the southeastern state.

Program director Dr. James D. Eason justified a transplant of the sort, which can sometimes be controversial due to its uncertainty, by noting that Jobs likely needed it. He was the patient with the greatest likelihood of developing an end-stage liver disease among those with a blood type matching the next available donor liver; as such, he was a prime candidate for the operation.

Even so, as he was the patient with the greatest risk in the waiting line, the Apple co-founder is now believed to have come out of his surgery with an "excellent prognosis" and a strong recovery.

Jobs declined to provide more information on the reasons for the surgery or his current state, but experts may have answered these questions themselves. Physicians speculating about the operation suggest that, like the majority patients who recovered from the form of pancreatic cancer he had in 2004, the cancer had metastasized in his liver, creating the "hormonal imbalance" that ultimately forced Jobs to take leave of his normal office for the past six months.

Tennessee is known to have been chosen for the small size of its transplant waiting list. Where the median number of days a patient would have to wait for a procedure in the US was 306 as of 2006, Tennessee's list was just 48 — enough to virtually guarantee an operation during Jobs' hiatus. Methodist University Hospital also points out that it's one of the ten largest locations offering liver transplants in the US and that Jobs specifically chose the hospital due to its strong reputation for patient survival rates.

While it's not known just how healthy the Apple CEO is or when his surgery actually took place — the most recent leak points to two months earlier — Jobs has purportedly been seen on campus this week. He was also quoted in a press release for the first time in months on Monday, hinting that he's ready to return to work in at least a partial capacity.