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Small Intestine Transplantation in an Adult with Short Bowel Syndrome

Osaka University Hospital Professor Hiroomi Okuyama, Professor of pediatric surgery, and his team of surgeons announced last October the first small intestine transplant from brain dead donors covered by national health insurance to treat a patient with short bowel syndrome. This was the first time such an operation was conducted in Western Japan and second time in the country. The patient showed good postoperative recovery and was discharged from the hospital this past January.

Small intestine transplants are technically difficult and had not been covered by the national health insurance, limiting the number of operations.

The patient was a male in his 30s who had his small intestine removed after surgery to treat ulcerative colitis and could thereafter could no longer eat normally. The donor was a braindead female of similar age.

Prof. Okuyama held a press conference to update the status of the patient with the patient present on February 8.

“Small intestine transplants were not a viable medical option previously, because of the lack of insurance. Patients without small intestines cannot acquire their nutrition normally. I hope to see this treatment used on more patients,” said Okuyama.

The patient also spoke at the conference.

“I want to begin by expressing my great gratitude to the organ donor and her family. I cannot thank them enough. I have been living with a drip attached to my body 24 hours a day for 8 years. Because of this operation, I can now eat normally. It is wonderful. I must still continue coming to the hospital, but every day I come closer to a normal life. I have been blessed by this transplantation and wish in the future I can do something for transplant surgery.”


        Photo:From left: Osaka University Hospital Director Prof. Tadashi Kimura, Dept. of Pediatric Surgery Prof. Hiroomi Okuyama, and Dept. of Pediatric Surgery Dr. Takehisa Ueno.