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Regis -- Bypassed by Docs, Bathed by Kelly?

3/12/2007 2:25 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Regis Philbin is going under the knife this week for bypass surgery, and looks like he'll have the services of a preternaturally perky nurse -- his co-host Kelly Ripa -- should he want them.

Philbin announced on this morning's "Live with Regis and Kelly" that he's going to have heart bypass surgery after experiencing shortness of breath and chest pains. His preferred mode of treatment was angioplasty -- "Bang, bang, bang, they blow it open," as he described it -- but doctors insisted on the more invasive bypass.

Kelly obligingly offered her, er, assistance: "My primary job will be, like it or not, get your pills ready -- your sponge-bath nurse." To which Reege very quickly replied, "Why don't you give me a quick dip before I go?"

Philbin says he'll be away from the show for five weeks. No word on whether Clay Aiken will fill in for the peppy talkmaster.

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