April 19, 2006 14:54 ET Presents: Living Donor Kidney Transplant From the University of Maryland Medical Center

Surgical Webcast: Wednesday, May 3, 2006 at 4:30 p.m. EDT (20:30 UTC)

BALTIMORE, MD -- (MARKET WIRE) -- April 19, 2006 -- On Wednesday, May 3, 2006 at 4:30 p.m. ET watch as surgeons from the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) in Baltimore remove a kidney from a living donor and place the organ inside a recipient during a living kidney donor transplant.

Due to the growing shortage of organs available for transplantation, there has been an increase in the use of living donors for kidney transplantation. Surgeons at UMMC use a minimally-invasive procedure called laparoscopic nephrectomy to remove a kidney from a donor.

"Surgeons here at the University of Maryland helped develop this technique a decade ago and we are recognized experts having performed more than 1,000 laparoscopic nephrectomies from living kidney donors. This is more than any other hospital," says Benjamin Philosophe, M.D., Ph.D., head of the division of transplantation at the University of Maryland Medical Center and an associate professor of surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (SOM).

Compared to the traditional kidney removal operation, which requires a large incision and up to six weeks of recuperation time, the minimally-invasive technique is performed with tiny incisions. Kidney donors are able to leave the hospital within two days, on average, and return to their normal activities within a couple of weeks.

"This technique has made a tremendous impact on our ability to help people who need a kidney transplant," says transplant surgeon Stephen T. Bartlett, M.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He adds, "Living donors can be parents, siblings, husbands, wives, friends, and co-workers. Each patient who receives a kidney from a living donor makes it possible for someone on the kidney waiting list to have a better chance of getting an organ from a deceased donor."

During the donor's operation, Dr. Adrian Park, chief of general surgery at UMMC and a professor of surgery at SOM, makes only a small incision below the navel -- about one-and a half to two inches -- as well as four small holes which he uses to insert instruments, including a laparoscope. The laparoscope contains a miniature camera, and surgeons watch what they are doing on a video monitor. In addition to less pain for the donor, no sutures or staples, and a faster recovery, the success rate of living donor kidneys, no matter what the donor-recipient relationship, is significantly greater than for cadaver kidneys.

During the recipient's surgery, an incision is made by Dr. Bartlett in the lower right side of the abdomen. Once the donor's kidney is removed, it is properly cleansed, blood vessels are sewed shut and the fat that surrounds the organ is removed. The process of placing the kidney in the recipient begins after that. It is not necessary to remove the recipient's dysfunctional kidneys. Instead the donor's kidney is placed near the bladder. The ureter from the donor kidney is attached to the bladder so that the kidney can begin its function of producing urine. The kidney begins to work almost immediately.

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