Leg Surgery For Cheney

U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney 2005/5/6
Vice President Dick Cheney will undergo an elective surgery next weekend to treat an aneurysm in an artery behind his right knee.

The condition, discovered this year during a routine checkup, needs to be treated so "as to not become a problem over time," Steve Schmidt, counselor to the vice president, said Friday.

"The procedure will be performed under local anesthetic," Schmidt said Friday. "It will take place next weekend. It will involve a short hospital stay. The vice president will return to work shortly thereafter."

Schmidt said more details will be announced in the coming week.

An aneurysm is a ballooning weak spot in an artery that, as blood pounds through, eventually can burst if left untreated.

Those in the knee, popliteal aneurysms, act a little differently, less likely to burst than aneurysms in other parts of the body. Blood clots can form in the weakened artery, however, which might break off and cause a stroke or block circulation in the leg.

Typical surgical repair is to open the leg and sew a fabric patch onto the artery to reinforce the weak spot.

  • Stephen Smith

    Stephen Smith is a senior editor for CBSNews.com