With England facing Estonia at Wembley on October 13th, followed by a return match against Russia four days later in Moscow in the European Championship qualifying matches, top football striker Michael Owen's hernia problem has been attracting much media attention.
Newcastle had feared the 27 year old striker's injury had turned into a double hernia raising a question mark about whether he would be able to help secure England's place at Euro 2008. The 3cm tear in his abductor muscle - an injury which was set to rule him out for most of the month - highlighted the urgency for surgery.
Over the weekend of Friday 28th and Saturday 29th September Owen joined the rising number of UK medical tourists and visited the Newcastle team's surgeon of choice - Munich-based Dr Ulrike Muschaweck - who is such an expert in the field of lower abdominal operations that her clinic is dubbed "Hernienzentrum" (Hernia Centre). The clinic has successfully repaired over 12,000 hernias over the past 12 years.
Dr Ulrike Muschaweck performed surgery on Owen which involved two operations, one on each side, to fix the Newcastle striker's groin and hernia problems. The operation went perfectly and was so successful that Dr Muschaweck believes he could be playing again in less than two weeks.
She said: "Owen had a 'sportsman groin' so he was given what we call the 'Minimal Repair' Technique. The tear happened some time before the operation but it was not the reason for surgery. Recovery will be within eight to 13 days depending on whether there is still some pain or not. After 14 days I anticipate he will be back to full activity" she adds.
However, club boss Sam Allardyce says it will be up to Newcastle United's medical staff to decide when Michael Owen is fit to play the international games post-operation.
Owen isn't the first footballer Muschaweck has treated. Alan Shearer was sent by the club to Muschaweck's űber modern clinic near Munich airport in November 2005 for a hernia operation and enjoyed an extraordinary recovery time - returning to field in just 10 days.
Owen is reported to be keen to play in the international double-header of matches but not if it compromises his long-term fitness for his club.