Statement by Assistant to the President for Press Relations Fitzwater on the President's Hand Surgery


January 7, 1989


President Reagan's operation to repair a Dupuytren's contracture of the ring finger of his left hand was successfully completed at approximately 11:00 this morning, January 7, 1989, at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.


The procedure commenced at 7:30 a.m. and was performed under regional anesthesia. A general anesthesia was not necessary. The President was alert and responsive throughout the operation, discussing various aspects of the procedure with doctors. He is now recovering in his room and is in good spirits.


The President's physician, Dr. John E. Hutton, Jr., Col., U.S. Army, reports that ``The President is comfortable and completed the operation with flying colors. He was alert and responsive throughout the process. His overall health is excellent.'' Dr. Hutton said: ``The operation consisted of a partial palmar and digital fasciectomy. The disease extended from the wrist to the tip of the ring finger.''


President Reagan will remain at Walter Reed tonight and return to the White House at his convenience on Sunday, January 8. Today's procedure is not expected to interrupt the President's normal work schedule, other than the obvious presence of a dressing on the left hand. The President will be receiving no special medications other than routine postoperative antibiotics and analgesic as necessary. The President's arm will be bandaged and in a sling for a few days. After that, only a hand bandage will be required. The finger will require a dynamic splint for several months to ensure corrective healing. Doctor Hutton indicates that no further surgery should be necessary. It is anticipated that the President will have full use of his finger.


The physicians involved were Dr. George Bogumill, of Georgetown University and consultant at Walter Reed; Col. Alan Smith and Maj. Paul Perlik of the Hand Service at Walter Reed; and Col. John E. Hutton, Jr., Physician to the President. Lt. Col. Charles Gandy performed the regional anesthesia. Dr. Marc Hahn assisted Dr. Gandy. Medical consultation was provided by Lt. Col. Lawrence Mohr, of the White House Medical Unit, and members of the department of medicine at Walter Reed.