First Lady Melania Trump is still in the hospital on Friday, four days after undergoing a “successful” procedure on Monday to treat what the White House has described as a “benign kidney condition.”
Now, with little indication of how soon she’ll be released from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, many are wondering whether the first lady’s days-long hospital stay is normal for such a procedure.
Dr. Jeffrey Berns, professor of medicine and pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, who does not treat Trump, tells PEOPLE that her week in the hospital may not be out of the ordinary if a significant area of the kidney needed treatment.
“It would really depend on how much of the kidney tissue they were treating with this operation,” he said.
Dr. Mohamad Allaf, vice chairman of urology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, agrees that the longer stay is “somewhat atypical but not out of the question.”
“It may be just out of an abundance of caution and privacy,” he told CNN. “Certainly, staying a little longer may imply that this is a little bit more of a complex situation.”
Trump’s communications director, Stephanie Grisham, released a statement Monday saying that the first lady would likely remain hospitalized for the rest of the week as she recovers.
“This morning, First Lady Melania Trump underwent an embolization procedure to treat a benign kidney condition,” the statement said. “The procedure was successful and there were no complications. Trump is at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and will likely remain there for the duration of the week.”
On Friday, Grisham declined to give PEOPLE an update when asked how soon the first lady might return home to the White House.
The first lady tweeted on Wednesday that she was “feeling great” and looking forward to returning home to the White House, and her husband, President Donald Trump, tweeted Tuesday morning that she’d be leaving the hospital in “two or three days.”
Leading medical experts who spoke with The New York Times said they would consider a week-long hospital stay unusual in typical cases of this procedure.
“It’s like literally an outpatient procedure,” said Dr. Eleanor D. Lederer, a professor at the University of Louisville School of Medicine and past president of the American Society of Nephrology. “You go in, you have it done, you lie in bed for a while to keep the blood vessel from bleeding and then you go home.”
But Dr. Jeffrey Cadeddu, a professor of urology and radiology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, said Trump’s hospital stay has most likely been extended due to her position.
“That’s because she is the first lady,” he said. “If it was you, you’d be in and out in a day, I promise.”
- With reporting by JULIE MAZZIOTTA