Sun, Apr 15, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Taipei hospital makes transplant breakthrough

Staff Writer, with CNA

The Far Eastern Memorial Hospital in Taipei said on Friday that it used laparoscopy to perform part of a liver transplant — the first time the minimally invasive approach had been used for such an operation in the country.

The hospital’s director of general surgery, Chen Kuo-hsin (陳國鋅), said the donor of the liver was left with an incision roughly a quarter of the size needed during conventional surgery.

Chen said laparoscopic surgery had matured in recent years, but was still mainly used in Taiwan to remove tumors.

The use of the modern surgical technique to remove liver tissue from a live donor during a transplant was not only a first in Taiwan, but remains uncommon throughout the world, according to Chen.

Conventional surgery was used to transplant the liver tissue into the patient, a 55-year-old man and a hepatitis B carrier surnamed Hu (胡).

He was found to have a 3cm tumor in his liver in May last year and had part of his liver removed, but he was advised to have a liver transplant when the tumor reappeared six months later.

Although both his wife and daughter wanted to donate their livers to save him, it was decided that the 22-year-old daughter would be the donor.

The surgery was performed at the end of March, when both the daughter and her father were operated on. The two were discharged recently.

Chen said laparoscopic surgery’s main advantages are that it limits post-operative pain felt by patients and reduces the odds of infection after surgery because of the small incision made.

The operation left the daughter with an incision of only 7.5cm, compared with a 30cm scar she would have had if she had undergone conventional surgery, Chen said.

Hu and his wife said they were satisfied with the results of the surgery.

At first they were worried that their daughter would be left with a big scar on her abdomen, which might make it harder for her to get married, they said.

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