Kidney transplant using buttonhole surgery
For the first time in Europe, a new living kidney transplantation procedure was used at the University Clinic for Urology in Graz: With the laparoscopic removal - more commonly known as "buttonhole surgery" - the previously complicated procedure can be compared to an appendix operation, as Univ. -Prof. Peter H. Petritsch explained. After laparoscopic exposure and ligation of the blood vessels, the kidney is removed with a small incision, Petritsch describes the process. The blood is flushed out with a special kidney preservation solution and the organ is simultaneously cooled to two degrees Celsius and then implanted in the recipient. The risk: the indirect removal must be carried out by a particularly experienced surgeon within two to three minutes.
The first operation in Graz, which lasted a total of four hours, was successful: During the transplant, a 49-year-old man acted as a donor for his 22-year-old son. The donor was able to be discharged after just five days, largely without any symptoms.
Living organ donation currently accounts for only two to five percent of kidney transplants in Europe. "Many potential donors are deterred primarily because of the great painfulness, and the recipients also reject the sacrifice as unreasonable," explains Prof. Petritsch. The long absence from work and large scars are also negative consequences of the previous method.
With the laparoscopic removal, that should change. As the example in the USA shows, the willingness to donate living kidneys can be increased enormously in this way, so that the proportion of this form of organ donation is now 20 to 25 percent. This could counteract the fact that the waiting list for kidney transplants is getting longer and longer due to a lack of suitable donor organs, said the doctor.