John McCain’s blood clot surgery, already having political implications with the Senate health care vote, may be more serious than initial descriptions have implied, according to The New York Times.
The condition for which the Arizona senator had surgery on Friday may delay his return to Washington by at least a week or two, medical experts said on Sunday.
A statement from Mr. McCain’s office said a two-inch blood clot was removed from “above his left eye” during a “minimally invasive craniotomy with an eyebrow incision” at the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix, “following a routine annual physical.”
Surgeons there are not conducting interviews, and Mr. McCain’s communications director, Julie Tarallo, said no further information was available.
A craniotomy is an opening of the skull, and an eyebrow incision would be used to reach a clot in or near the left frontal lobes of the brain, neurosurgeons who were not involved in Mr. McCain’s care said.
“Usually, a blood clot in this area would be a very concerning issue,” said Dr. Nrupen Baxi, an assistant professor of neurosurgery at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.
He added, “The recovery time from a craniotomy is usually a few weeks — at least a week or two.”
The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, has already announced that votes on a bill to dismantle the Affordable Care Act will not begin until Mr. McCain’s return.
A statement released by Mr. McCain’s office on Saturday had suggested that he would be in Arizona recovering for just this week, but neurosurgeons interviewed said the typical recovery period could be longer.
“Senator McCain received excellent treatment at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix, and appreciates the tremendous professionalism and care by its doctors and staff,” the statement said. “He is in good spirits and recovering comfortably at home with his family. On the advice of his doctors, Senator McCain will be recovering in Arizona next week.”
McCain’s office also released a statement from the Mayo Clinic, saying a blood clot was removed from above the senator’s left eye Friday after it was found during a routine annual physical.
“Surgeons successfully removed the five-(centimeter) blood clot during a minimally invasive craniotomy with an eyebrow incision,” the statement said. “Tissue pathology reports are pending within the next several days.”
McConnell said in a statement on Saturday, according to The Washington Post, that “while John is recovering, the Senate will continue our work on legislative items and nominations, and will defer consideration of the Better Care Act.”