Statement on Melania's Kidney Surgery Raises Questions

Unaffiliated doctors speculate on the cause, length of hospital stay
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted May 15, 2018 8:47 AM CDT
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President Donald Trump speaks while first lady Melania Trump listens during a celebration of military mothers and spouses event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, May 9, 2018.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(Newser) – President Trump on Tuesday addressed his wife's kidney surgery, tweeting, "Our great First Lady is doing really well. Will be leaving hospital in 2 or 3 days. Thank you for so much love and support!" The White House on Monday said Melania Trump "underwent an embolization procedure to treat a benign kidney condition" earlier in the day and would likely spend the week at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. While it didn't elaborate, CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta did: "When I hear benign kidney condition, most of the time, you're thinking a cyst and a cyst is basically a fluid-filled structure. ... It's not something that typically gets embolized," a procedure in which the blood flow is cut off to a body part. "Was there a cyst and something else associated with that cyst? What is it ... is the question," he continues.

As for the "what," the chairman of urology at UCLA offers two possibilities to the Los Angeles Times: an angiomyolipoma, a benign tumor; or an arteriovenous malformation, which "involves a collection of arteries and veins that kind of group themselves together in an abnormal way," says Dr. Mark Litwin. Whatever the kidney condition, he says embolizations for them are usually outpatient procedures. "Why someone would be in a hospital for a week for this, I have no idea." A urologist speculates on that point for CNN, saying it's possible "the full lesion may not have been completely embolized and sometimes you need it done again." Or there could be "bleeding around the kidney or bleeding where you actually go through and get into your blood vessels."

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