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Minimally Invasive Removal of a Kidney for Transplant

First Broadcast: Monday, October 27, 2003, 12:00 pm CST (18:00 UTC)

Fargo, N.D. - In a replay of a live internet webcast first seen on Monday, October 27, 2003, MeritCare presents a live, surgical webcast of a hand-assisted laparoscopic donor nephrectomy (i.e. minimally invasive removal of a kidney for transplant.) The surgery took place at MeritCare Health System, Fargo, N.D. and is available for viewing by the public anywhere in the world .

  MeritCare surgeons performing a hand-assisted laparoscopic donor nephrectomy.

MeritCare is one of a handful of healthcare institutions in the nation to broadcast live, surgical webcasts and the only hospital in North Dakota to offer both kidney and pancreas transplants.

The surgery was performed by a MeritCare surgical team consisting of Bhargav Mistry, M.D., transplant surgeon, and Timothy Monson, M.D., general and laparoscopic surgeon. Dr. Mistry and Dr. Monson were available to field questions from the public and healthcare professionals from around the world submitted via e-mail during the live webcast.

  • The surgical procedure: The hand-assisted laparoscopic donor nephrectomy is a less invasive technique for removing a kidney from a living donor for transplantation. The surgery involves the insertion of a laparoscope (surgical telescope) through three to five small incisions in the donor’s abdomen. Using precision instruments that are inserted into the small openings, the surgeon prepares the donor’s kidney for removal while simultaneously observing a magnified image on a TV monitor. When the kidney is ready for removal, the transplant surgeon gently removes the kidney through a small opening. The kidney is then prepared for transplantation into the recipient.
  • The benefits: This technique for kidney removal is a vast improvement on the traditional method of open nephrectomy, which requires a longer incision and the removal of a rib. The laparoscopic technique requires several smaller incisions to remove the kidney, allowing minimal disruption to the donor’s abdominal wall. This results in less pain and scarring, a shorter hospital stay and a quicker recovery time for the donor.

MeritCare’s Transplant Program: MeritCare Health System has provided kidney transplants since 1989 with a total of 325 transplants having taken place in the past 14 years. MeritCare Transplant Services currently provides both kidney and pancreas transplants. Transplant surgeon Dr. Bhargav Mistry has performed over 140 transplants since he joined MeritCare in the fall of 2000. The first laparoscopic donor nephrectomy was performed at MeritCare in February of 2002 by Dr. Monson and Dr. Mistry. Twenty-six additional laparoscopic nephrectomies have taken place since that time.

Donor eligibility for laparoscopic nephrectomy: In order to be eligible for laparoscopic nephrectomy, the donor must first match with the recipient and be healthy enough to donate a kidney. Many factors are considered for one to be eligible for the laparoscopic approach, one being body size. Most patients are eligible for this type of surgery.

The need for organ donation: The current need for organ donation is great, with over 55,000 people on the national waiting list for a kidney. In our region, 1,200 people are waiting for a donor kidney. Most kidneys transplanted in the U.S. are cadaveric, which means they are removed from a person who has recently died. With kidney disease and kidney failure on the rise, the number of cadaveric organs that become available each year tends to remain relatively constant, making waiting lists longer and increasing the number of people who die waiting for a cadaveric kidney to become available. Living donor kidneys offer one way of bypassing the long waiting list. People who donate a kidney do not experience any ill effects aside from having surgery and often recover quickly.

MeritCare Health Sytem is a not-for-profit, integrated hospital and clinic system headquarters in Fargo, N.D. Founded in the early 1900s as St. Luke’s Hospital and Fargo Clinic, today it is one of the top 100 integrated healthcare networks in the nation as cited y Modern Healthcare magazine. MeritCare is comprised of a 583-bed hospital in two locations, 361 physicians, 99 physician assistants and nurse practitioners and a network of 33 clinics in eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota.

The webcast uses Realplayer to display both video and synchronized slides in side by side windows. Viewers can download a free copy of the player here.

It is not necessary to purchase any of Real's premium players or subscription plans. The free basic player is all that is required to view the surgery.


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