Landmark surgery as donor kidney removed through vagina

February 4, 2009

(ChattahBox) — Earlier this week, a Johns Hopkins surgeon successfully removed a healthy kidney through a donor’s vagina for transplantation, the first operation of its kind. The donor and the recipient, the donor’s niece, are both recovering. Typically, removing the kidney requires a six-inch incision through the belly and the donor is in the hospital for several days after. With the new procedure, the donor could likely go home in a day without the scar.  The operation left three pea-size scars on the woman’s abdomen, one hidden in her navel, from where the wand-like camera and operating tools were inserted through small incisions.

Diseased gallbladders, kidneys and appendixes have been removed through the vagina before.  But this is believed to be the first time that doctors have managed to harvest a healthy donor kidney for transplantation in this way. Doctors hope the new technique will make it easier for people to donate, with less impact on their lives. The woman was chosen to be the first donor to undergo the procedure because a previous hysterectomy enabled doctors to operate without a uterus obstructing their efforts.


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