UIC is one of only two centers in the United States to perform living-donor kidney-pancreas transplants, and the only center to use robotic technology for the removal of these two organs.
The recipient, a 34-year-old man with Type 1 diabetes, suffered kidney failure as a result of the disease. His wife donated her left kidney and approximately 50 percent of her pancreas to her husband.
During the Jan. 12 surgery, physicians inserted the laparoscope and robotic arms of the da Vinci Surgical System through half-inch incisions in the donor’s abdomen to precisely control the real-time movements of the surgical instruments inside the patient.
Both organs were removed through a 2 3/4-inch incision and then transplanted into the recipient during traditional open surgery. The kidney and pancreas are functioning normally and the patient no longer requires insulin to control his diabetes.
The donor and recipient, who do not wish to be identified, are doing well. The donor was discharged from the hospital Jan. 17 and her husband will be discharged today.
“The robot allows us to perform complex surgeries laparoscopically and spares the donor from open abdominal surgery, a large scar and a prolonged recovery,” said Dr. Enrico Benedetti, professor of surgery at UIC and division chief of transplantation surgery. “In this case, it allowed us to more delicately preserve the splenic artery and vein and maintain the viability of the spleen.”
According to Dr. Santiago Horgan, director of minimally invasive surgery at UIC, robotic-assisted minimally invasive surgery vastly expands laparoscopic capabilities by allowing surgeons to view the operating field in 3-D using a tiny camera to manipulate instruments more precisely.
The robotic system also provides a 360-degree range of motion, using instruments modeled after the human wrist. This dexterity is not possible with traditional laparoscopic instruments, which are suitable for only a narrow range of surgical procedures.
UIC surgeons performed the first robotic-assisted surgery in Illinois in 2000. Since then, more the 500 robotic surgeries have been performed at UIC for a variety of procedures including kidney donation, gall bladder removal, gastric bypass and Lap-Band for treatment of obesity, and esophageal repair.
UIC ranks among the nation’s top 50 universities in federal research funding and is Chicago’s largest university with 25,000 students, 12,000 faculty and staff, 15 colleges and the state’s major public medical center. A hallmark of the campus is the Great Cities Commitment, through which UIC faculty, students and staff engage with community, corporate, foundation and government partners in hundreds of programs to improve the quality of life in metropolitan areas around the world.
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