Public Papers

Statement by Press Secretary Fitzwater on the President's Hand Surgery


President Bush underwent minor surgery today at Walter Reed Army Medical Center to remove a mucoid cyst of approximately one centimeter in diameter from the third digit on the middle finger of his right hand. The procedure, which started at 1:35 p.m., took approximately 25 minutes and was entirely successful. A pathological examination of the cyst is underway, but Dr. Burton Lee, the President's Physician, said the cyst appeared benign.

The digital nerve block anesthesia, a form of local anesthesia, is expected to wear off within 3 to 4 hours following the surgery. Pain medication will be prescribed as necessary.

The incision was approximately 1/2\ inches long, along the top of the finger. Eight stitches were required to close the incision, which will be removed in approximately 2 weeks. No long-term impairment of movement in the finger is expected.

The operation was performed by Dr. Allan Smith, a colonel in the Army Medical Corps and chief of hand surgery at Walter Reed, and Dr. George Bogumill, chief of hand surgery at Georgetown University. Digital nerve block anesthesia was administered by Dr. Charles Gandy of Walter Reed, a lieutenant colonel in the Army Medical Corps. White House Physicians Dr. Burton Lee and Dr. Lawrence Mohr, a colonel in the Army Medical Corps, were in attendance throughout the procedure.

The President will wear a splint on the finger for 2 to 3 weeks. Dr. Allan Smith will visit the President at the White House Tuesday, October 10, for a followup examination.