Menino to have prostate surgery

Operation meant to treat ‘common’ ailment, not cancer

Mayor Thomas M. Menino has had a string of ailments
Mayor Thomas M. Menino has had a string of ailments

Mayor Thomas M. Menino will undergo elective surgery Friday for an enlarged prostate, according to his doctor.

Dr. Charles Morris, the mayor’s primary care physician, told the Globe Monday that the surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital would shrink the 70-year-old mayor’s prostate in an effort to give him a better ability to empty his bladder.

“This is not being done for prostate cancer,” Morris said in a phone interview with the Globe. “This is being done for a benign, harmless condition that, nevertheless, causes symptoms that are noxious and unpleasant.”


Morris said the surgery was not unusual for a man the mayor’s age and was not an indication of a more serious underlying condition.

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“Enlargement of the prostate is incredibly common — the majority of men his age has [the condition to] some degree,” Morris said.

Calling it a “common procedure,” the doctor said the surgery was unrelated to Menino’s type 2 diabetes or Crohn’s disease. He added that those maladies would not be complicating factors in the surgery, which is slated to be performed by Kevin Loughlin, a doctor at the Brigham

Morris said people recovering from this type of surgery, a suprapubic prostatectomy, typically spend “a few days” recovering at the hospital following the procedure.

Outside doctors not involved in Menino’s treatment echoed Morris’s assessment.


“This is an operation for a benign disease,” said Dr. Timothy Boone, chairman of the Department of Urology at Methodist Hospital in Houston. “If you knew you had cancer or suspected it, this is not the operation you would perform.”

“It’s relatively uncomplicated,” he said.

Dr. Edward Schaeffer, a professor of urology, oncology, and pathology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore said the problem that prompts this type of surgery is “incredibly common.”

As for the procedure, Schaeffer added, “in the hands of a good surgeon, it should be something that is pretty routine.”

The prostate surgery means another hospitalization for the mayor, who has faced a grueling and seemingly relentless series of health problems.


Menino is recovering from a broken bone in his leg and at a Memorial Day ceremony on Thursday, was still on crutches and moving gingerly. He underwent surgery for a fracture in his lower fibula – which forms part of his ankle joint – in April and continues to regularly go to physical therapy.

Last year, he cut short a trip to Italy in October after falling ill. First diagnosed with a severe respiratory infection, while hospitalized, he sustained a compression fracture in a spinal vertebra. He was later diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

After five weeks at Brigham and Women’s, he stayed at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital for three weeks, until just before Christmas.

Known for a heavy schedule of ribbon cuttings, dedications, and other events in every corner of the city during his long tenure as mayor, Menino’s illnesses have forced him to cut back on his appearances.

In March, he announced that his current term in office would be his last, saying he lacked the energy to be mayor the way he wants, keeping up “a Menino schedule.”

Dot Joyce, a spokeswoman for the mayor, said, that after the surgery, he would recuperate at the Parkman House, the city-owned mansion, where he has been staying.

“The mayor and his family thank everyone again for their tremendous support,” she added. “He wants to reassure everyone that he will be fine.”

Joshua Miller can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @jm_bos.