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Biden had a benign, 'potentially precancerous' polyp removed during his routine colonoscopy, his doctor said

Business Insider logo Business Insider 11/25/2021 (Erin Snodgrass)
President Joe Biden. Rick Loomis/Getty Images © Rick Loomis/Getty Images President Joe Biden. Rick Loomis/Getty Images
  • President Joe Biden had a small polyp removed during a routine colonoscopy.
  • The lesion is similar to a polyp Biden had removed during a 2008 colonoscopy, his physician said.
  • Biden, who turned 79 on Sunday, also underwent a standard physical at Walter Reed Medical Center.

During a routine colonoscopy last week, President Joe Biden had a benign lesion removed, according to multiple media outlets.

The White House disclosed results from the procedure late Wednesday night and said the 3-millimeter polyp required "no further action."

Dr. Kevin O'Connor, who has been the president's physician since his time as vice president, announced testing on the polyp revealed it to be a tubular adenoma, a benign lesion.

O'Connor characterized the growth as "a potentially precancerous lesion" and recommended continued "routine surveillance." The lesion is similar to a polyp Biden had removed during a 2008 colonoscopy, according to the doctor. 

The physician released Biden's results with permission from the president and said he should undergo another colonoscopy in seven to 10 years. 

Biden, who turned 79 on Sunday, also underwent a standard physical at Walter Reed Medical Center last week — his first since being inaugurated in January.

Following the check-up, the White House released a six-page summary of the president's physical and noted that the lesion had been discovered and removed "without difficulty." The White House also said multiple diverticula, which are small pouches, were removed from Biden's colon during the colonoscopy.

The procedure, which required anesthesia, meant Biden transferred presidential power to Vice President Kamala Harris for about 85 minutes, marking the first time a woman has held the power in US history.

The colonoscopy was the same procedure former President Donald Trump reportedly hid in 2019, according to former White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham. The former aide suggested Trump refused anesthesia and kept his colonoscopy secret in order to avoid transferring power to Vice President Mike Pence.

Presidents are not required to publicly reveal the results of their annual physicals, according to CNN, but many have done so in order to be honest with the American people. Some former presidents, however, have chosen to hide their illnesses or medical treatments. 

In a follow-up memo to Biden's Friday procedure, O'Connor said the president "remains fit for duty and fully executes all of his responsibilities without any exemptions or accommodations." The doctor did note two areas he marked for additional observation, including an "increasing frequency and severity of throat clearing and coughing during speaking engagements," and a walking abnormality which causes Biden to appear "perceptibly stiffer and less fluid" than he was a year ago.

In his follow-up summary, O'Connor said Biden, who is now the oldest person to ever serve as president, remains healthy and fit to serve.

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