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US First Lady Melania Trump 'doing really well' after kidney procedure

Video: Reuters

US president Donald Trump has said his wife, Melania, is "doing really well" although she remains in hospital following a medical procedure to treat a kidney condition the White House described as benign.

Mr Trump said he expected the first lady back home at the White House before the end of the week.

The president also praised her doctors for doing a "fantastic job".

"Melania is doing really well. She's watching us right now," Mr Trump said as he addressed an annual tribute to law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.

The ceremony at a police memorial near the Capitol was broadcast live on cable TV.

"And I want to thank the incredible doctors ...They did a fantastic job," he said.

During a later appearance at the Capitol to join Republican senators for their weekly lunch, Mr Trump reiterated that his wife is "really doing well".

The procedure was "really successful", he said.

Mr Trump had tweeted earlier that the first lady "will be leaving hospital in 2 or 3 days".

Her spokeswoman had said in a statement announcing the "embolisation" procedure that the first lady was likely to remain in hospital for "the duration of the week".

The president and first lady spoke by telephone on Monday, before the procedure at Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre near Washington, and on Tuesday, the White House said.

He also spent time with Mrs Trump at the hospital on Monday evening after she had been treated.

The White House declared the procedure "successful" but has withheld additional information about her condition, citing the first lady's right to privacy.

US vice president Mike Pence, however, said in a speech Monday night that the procedure was "long-planned".

Two urologists who have no personal knowledge of Mrs Trump's condition said the most likely explanation for the embolisation procedure is a kind of non-cancerous kidney tumour called an angiomyolipoma.

Dr Keith Kowalczyk of MedStar Georgetown University Hospital said the condition is not common, but tends to occur in middle-aged women and can cause problematic bleeding if the tumours become large enough. Mrs Trump is 48.

"The treatment of choice" is to cut off the blood supply so the growth shrinks, added Dr Lambros Stamatakis of MedStar Washington Hospital Center. Doctors do that with an embolisation, meaning a catheter is snaked into the blood vessels of the kidney to find the right one and block it.

Most of the time, these benign tumours are found when people undergo medical scans for another reason, but sometimes people have pain or other symptoms, Dr Kowalczyk said. Many times, embolisation patients go home the same day or the next.

The first lady was last seen in public at a White House event on Wednesday where she and the president honoured military mothers and spouses for Mother's Day.

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