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Pint-Sized Darth Vader Goes Home After Heart Surgery

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LOS ANGELES (KTLA) -- Max Page, the 7-year-old who was the face behind the force in Volkswagen's popular Super Bowl commercial is home from the hospital

Page was discharged from Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Monday, just four days after having open-heart surgery, but he still faces six to eight weeks of recovery.

Dr. Vaughn Starnes said the surgery to replace Max Page's pulmonary valve went without incident on Thursday and that Max is recovering in good condition.

The 2-hour operation -- Max's eighth surgery -- was performed at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

Max was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect when he was just 3 months old.

His mother, Jennifer, described his condition on the "Today" Show last year.

"He had his first surgery at 3 months old at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, and from then they saved his life and gave him back to us," she said.

"About a week after his first surgery, he had to have a pacemaker put in," she explained.

Now that Max is older, Children's Heart Institute's chief of cardiology says its time to fix a small artery they created for him as a baby to accommodate the blood flow of a growing boy.

Surgeons inserted a tube between the right pumping chamber and the main artery to the lungs.

The replacement valve he is receiving during Thursday's surgery will need to be replaced by a larger one when Max is about 17, and then he will need another one in his 20s.

Max starred as a pint-sized Darth Vader in a 2011 Super Bowl commercial for the Volkswagen Passat.

He's also had roles on The Young and the Restless and Prime Suspect.

Max has also become an official junior ambassador for Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

"This is not gonna hold Max back," Dr. Silka said.

In lieu of cards and gifts, Max's family asks well-wishers to donate to Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

To donate to the hospital in Max's name, visit www.CHLA.org/MAX.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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