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First liver transplant using laparoscopy performed in Taiwan

2012/04/13 20:14:41

Taipei, April 13 (CNA) Far Eastern Memorial Hospital announced Friday that it used laparoscopy to perform part of a liver transplant, the first time the minimally invasive approach had been used for such a case in Taiwan.

Chen Kuo-hsin, director of General Surgery of the New Taipei hospital, said the donor of the liver was left with an incision of only about 7.5 centimeters on her abdomen, roughly one-fourth 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 around 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.

He was found to have a 3-cm tumor in his liver last May and had part of his liver removed, but he was advised to have a liver transplant when he suffered a relapse 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, with both the daughterand her father being 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 7.5 cm, compared with a 30-cm scar she would have had if she had undergone conventional surgery, Chen said.

At a news conference at the hospital Friday, Hu and his wife said they were satisfied with the results of the surgery.

At first, they said, 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.

But Hu said it was fortunate that the hospital decided to use laparoscopic surgery to remove liver tissue from his daughter after a careful assessment.

(By Chen Chih-chung and Lilian Wu)
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