Melania Trump’s successful embolization treatment casts spotlight on interventional radiology

First lady Melania Trump underwent an image-guided embolization treatment for a benign kidney condition earlier this week, casting a sudden spotlight on the world of interventional radiology. The small surgery was a success, according to the White House, and she will be recovering at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for the rest of the week. 

The Society of Intervention Radiology (SIR) issued a statement Tuesday, May 15, to help inform a curious public about what, exactly, the first lady went through. The statement was written by M. Victoria Marx, MD, SIR president and an interventional radiologist at Keck Medicine of USC in Los Angeles.

“The Society of Interventional Radiology wishes the First lady, Melania Trump, a speedy recovery as she recuperates from her embolization treatment,” Marx said in the statement. “Embolization, a treatment created by interventional radiologists (IRs), is an important tool in the toolbox of IRs everywhere. Embolization can be used to stop bleeding, as in cases of trauma, or to starve a fibroid or tumor of its blood supply, as may be the case in the treatment performed on Mrs. Trump.”

Marx also highlighted a major benefit of such procedures—that they save the patient from considerable stress. “The beauty of this solution is that no open surgery is required, reducing both the patient’s risk and recovery time,” she wrote. “In many cases, patients can go home the same day. Sometimes a short stay in the hospital is required, depending upon the patient and area treated.”