Henry Ford Kidney Surgeon: Melania Trump Treatment Most Likely Benign Tumor

May 16, 2018
Melania Trump

DETROIT – A prominent kidney surgeon at the nationally recognized urology program of Henry Ford Health System says treatment received by the First Lady of the United States most likely indicates a benign kidney tumor.

The White House Communications Office said in a statement posted on Whitehouse.gov Monday afternoon that First Lady Melania Trump “underwent an embolization procedure to treat a benign kidney condition.”

“The procedure was successful and there were no complications,” the statement says. “Mrs. Trump is at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and will likely remain there for the duration of the week.  The First Lady looks forward to a full recovery so she can continue her work on behalf of children everywhere.”

Dr. Craig Rogers, who is not involved in any aspect of First Lady Melania Trump’s treatment, said that terminology most likely indicates she was diagnosed with Angiomyolipoma (AML), a benign kidney tumor.

Unlike cancerous tumors that have potential to metastasize and spread, these types of tumors generally grow in place, fed by blood-rich vessels, Rogers said. Diagnosis typically occurs when the tumor causes symptoms which may include pain or blood in the urine.

“These types of symptoms are indicators you should go see your doctor,” said Dr. Rogers. “The good news here is that the tumor was not cancerous and it appears she was treated by a simple procedure rather than full-blown surgery to remove the tumor or entire kidney.”

Embolization takes place in an Interventional Radiology suite, using an approach similar to a heart catheterization, he explained. A tube or catheter is inserted in a small incision in the groin area and threaded into the body through a blood vessel.

“But instead of proceeding through the vessel to the heart, the catheter is inserted into the artery that goes to the kidney,” Dr. Rogers said. “The vessel branches feeding blood to the tumor are then plugged using materials that permanently block the vessels. Cutting off the blood supply can stop the tumor’s growth or even shrink the tumor, avoiding future problems such as bleeding or pain.”

As with any invasive procedure, medical personnel typically monitor the patient after the procedure for bleeding, infection, or other complications, he added. He feels five days in the Bethesda, Maryland, hospital may be an indication doctors at Walter Reed are being extra cautious.

President Donald Trump tweeted Monday night that he was visiting the First Lady at Walter Reed.

“Heading over to Walter Reed Medical Center to see our great First Lady, Melania,” he tweeted at about 4:30 p.m. Monday. “Successful procedure, she is in good spirits. Thank you to all of the well-wishers!”

There are no commonly known risk factors for this type of benign kidney tumor. He said it’s a relatively less common type of kidney tumor, and it is rare that they grow large enough to require treatment. Treatment options include embolization, medication or surgery, depending on the situation.

“That’s why it’s so important to pay attention to your body’s signals and follow up with your doctor,” said Dr. Rogers. “The First Lady is in very good hands, and we at Henry Ford Health System wish her a speedy recovery.”

Dr. Rogers directs the robotic kidney surgery program at the world-renowned Vattikuti Urology Institute (VUI) at Henry Ford Hospital. There, doctors led by VUI Director Mani Menon, pioneered robotic surgery in Urology and started the world's first structured program in robotic surgery. Dr. Menon helped develop the techniques for robotic prostatectomy, and supported the development of robotic surgery programs for kidney, adrenal, and bladder tumors.. These techniques have been replicated and performed millions of times across the globe.

For more information on kidney surgery or the Vattikuti Urology Institute, visit https://www.henryford.com/services/urology or call 800-436-7936.

For The White House statement, visit: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/statement-communications-director-first-lady-melania-trump/  

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