The University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) Transplant Centre recently witnessed its first and successful combined abdominal wall and small intestine transplant. This was the first time that a patient underwent an abdominal wall transplant in the Netherlands – or, indeed, in the entire Eurotransplant Region. The fact that plastic surgeons were involved in this complex procedure is also unique in transplant medicine. The combined transplant lasted a total of nine hours. The patient's condition is currently well.
The transplant is already a half year ago. The 25-year old woman has Crohn’s disease. Thanks to the combined transplant, this patient can once again eat normally and enjoy a closed and undamaged abdominal wall. Since the operation her weight increased almost 20 kilos.
The special surgery was send to the media after the largest repulsion danger was gone. The abdominal wall and the small intestine came from the same donor in order to minimize the risk of rejection. Relatives of the donors have granted special permission for the use of the piece of abdominal wall. For the abdominal wall transplant, the patient was given a piece of donor skin of about 20 by 15 centimeter, including the navel with all the underlying muscle and nerve tissue. Plastic surgeons have micro-surgery, the blood vessels connected to each other.