World's First Robotic Assisted Kidney Transplant Performed at Saint Barnabas Medical Center
Livingston, N.J. -- Transplant surgeon, Stuart R. Geffner, M.D., Director of Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Surgery, Saint Barnabas Health Care System Renal and Pancreas Transplant Division, is the first in the world to use the Intuitive Surgical's da Vinci ™ Surgical System to successfully implant a kidney into a living recipient. This procedure revolutionizes kidney transplant surgery, taking an open procedure to an advanced form of laparoscopic surgery.
“The robotic transplant requires a 5 cm incision which is just large enough to introduce the kidney into the recipient’s body. It is approximately one-third the size of a conventional ‘open’ transplant incision. I believe that this will be beneficial to the patient in terms of quicker recovery, as well as a lower incidence of the most frequent post-operative complications - wound infection and bleeding,” states Dr. Geffner.
For Jim and Maureen Schrader, it was transformational.
When Jim and Maureen met five years ago, they knew they were a perfect love match but they never realized just how perfect. A Type 1 diabetic since the age of 28, Maureen began to get sick around Christmas 2007. Over the ensuing months, her health deteriorated. One afternoon in early spring, her husband happened to stop home and found her passed out close to death on the floor. Soon after, doctors told her that her kidneys had failed and that she would need to have dialysis until a kidney donor was found.
Dr. Geffner performed the first robot assisted kidney transplant in the world on Maureen at Saint Barnabas Medical Center. He has since performed 8 other robot assisted kidney transplant surgeries.
Dr. Geffner is also the first renal transplant surgeon in the region to perform robot-assisted living donor kidney removal. However, prior to this surgery, implantation of the donor kidney into the recipient required traditional open surgery.
Dr. Geffner considers robot-assisted technology to be a remarkable surgical tool. He says “It is an advanced form of laparoscopic surgery that allows surgeons to do precision work with less trauma to the patient.” Utilizing the da Vinci Surgical System, a laparoscopic camera and robotic probes are inserted into the patient through several small incisions. Pencil-sized probes translate the surgeon’s hand movements and adjust themselves to compensate for the natural tremor of the human hand. For the patient, robot-assisted surgery is safe, minimally invasive and offers faster recovery time.
Although the recovery process takes time, Maureen and Jim are both doing well. Maureen and Jim are grateful to have each other. Now as Jim reminds Maureen, “Wherever you go, you will have a piece of me inside you. We are forever linked together.”
Dr. Stuart Geffner
Date: June 4, 2009
Saint Barnabas Contact:
Sally Malech, Director of PR/Marketing
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