March 8, 2005
President Clinton's office announced Tuesday, March 8th that he will undergo a procedure on Thursday to remove scar tissue from his previous heart surgery.
The procedure is known as decortication and will require general anesthesia. Over the past few weeks, the former president has suffered from a buildup of fluid and scar tissue that's making breathing difficult. This particular problem is an occasional complication of open heart surgery, which Clinton did have back in September. To correct it, doctors will make a small incision in the ribs and go into the lung.
Dr. Latham Murray, a local surgeon with CRL Surgical Associates, is familiar with the procedure and says it is not life-threatening.
He commented, "We do stick tubes between the ribs; it causes some bruising and can be kind of sore, but functionally speaking, there are no broken ribs, there's no real incision to recover from, and many folks are back in action within two or three days."
Clinton himself says the surgery is "no big deal." However, he will most likely have to remain in the hospital for three to 10 days.
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