First Lady Melania Trump is recovering from kidney surgery following an embolization procedure Monday morning at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, according to a statement released Monday afternoon by the White House.
It’s not clear why Melania, who turned 48 in April, needed surgery. Her office described the ongoing issue with her kidney as benign, but requiring medical attention.
According to the First Lady’s communications director Stephanie Grisham, the procedure was successful and there were no complications. Melania is expected to remain hospitalized for the duration of the week to recover.
What is an embolization procedure?
The First Lady had a kidney embolization procedure, which is done to stop blood flow to a portion of the kidney, says John Friedewald, M.D., medical director of kidney and pancreas transplantation at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
This type of procedure is typically done in preparation for kidney surgery for cancer or a type of benign kidney tumor known as angiomyolipoma, says Friedewald. A less likely cause is a renal arteriovenous malformation (AVM), when blood vessels in the kidney grow irregularly, he adds.
Kidney embolization procedures are generally well tolerated, says Friedewald, and may only cause minor side effects like fever, pain at the injection site, or pain in the kidney.
The surgery comes just a week after Melania unveiled her formal platform for her campaign, “Be Best.” The initiative focuses on opioid addiction and families, general physical and emotional well-being of children, and safety for kids using social media.
Melania isn’t the only First Lady to undergo a serious medical procedure while in the White House in recent history, according to CNN: Nancy Reagan had a mastectomy in 1987, Rosalynn Carter had surgery to remove a benign lump in her breast in 1977, and Betty Ford was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a mastectomy in 1974.