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TIPPER GORE OUT OF HOSPITAL AFTER SURGERY

Tipper Gore was released from a hospital today after surgery to remove a growth in her thyroid gland.

Mrs. Gore, 51, left Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore walking arm in arm with her husband, Vice President Gore. Both shook hands with her surgeon, Dr. Robert Udelsman, and she kissed him on the cheek.

Neither made any comment before getting into a waiting limousine.

Udelsman said results of pathological tests on the small growth, or nodule, will be available next week. Earlier tests, including a procedure in which a small tissue sample was extracted with a needle, were inconclusive.

The surgery Tuesday, known as a right thyroid lobectomy, was much more extensive, requiring general anesthesia, but it was not expected to affect the functions of Mrs. Gore's thyroid gland.

The nodule was discovered several months ago during an examination of a chronic, exercise-related injury in Mrs. Gore's neck.

The Gores returned to Washington from Tennessee on Monday night after spending several days over the Christmas holidays with their extended family on their farm in Carthage.

Though Gore's office said Tuesday that Mrs. Gore's test results will not be available until next week, the Johns Hopkins Thyroid Tumor Center Web page, describing procedures at the facility, said, "In the space of a morning, for example, patients with a thyroid nodule can get a physician's evaluation, imaging and a needle biopsy and receive results within 48 hours."

The thyroid gland secretes hormones into the bloodstream to stimulate cells in the body.

Thyroid nodules are common, occurring in about one-third of all people, according to the American Cancer Society. As many as 95 percent of the growths are not cancerous. Still, about 18,000 cases of thyroid cancer are diagnosed each year, more than 13,000 of them in women. Thyroid cancer is highly treatable, and many are cured, but it kills 700 women and 500 men a year, the cancer society estimates.

In treating thyroid cancer, "surgeons remove the thyroid gland and follow with a dose of radioactive iodine designed to destroy lingering cells," the online paper stated.

The vice president gave no hint of the medical procedure only a week ago while campaigning in Iowa -- when he reassured reporters that they should expect no news until he resumed campaigning in early January.

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