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Ochsner 1st in Louisiana to use Robotics in Living-Donor Kidney Transplant for Faster Recovery

NEW ORLEANS, July 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Ochsner Medical Center ( performed the first robotic-assisted kidney transplant in Louisiana, and one of only a handful in the nation. Utilizing daVinci robotic technology, Ochsner transplant surgeons are able to make living-donor kidney transplants easier on the donor by using smaller incisions, which results in less pain and a faster recovery. Ochsner performed the operation in July 2009 with successful outcomes for the recipient and the donor. Ochsner has scheduled additional robotic-assisted operations in the coming weeks.

"By using the daVinci robot, living-kidney donations can be made through a smaller incision in the donor and require one overnight stay in the hospital," explains Dr. Ari Cohen, Ochsner Transplant Surgeon, Ochsner Multi-Organ Transplant Institute. "Donating an organ is an important decision, and the daVinci enables us to make the procedure more comfortable for an individual who's chosen to save a life. Further, we believe it makes the procedure more successful, due to the improved precision of the operation." Kidney donors go on to live normal, healthy lives, free of restrictions.

Dr. Cohen explains that the daVinci robot is only used to remove a kidney, not to transplant it into a recipient. However, the robotics technology does benefit the recipient as it enables the surgeon to harvest the organ with increased precision and dexterity. "The high magnification of the robot allows us to better visualize and dissect blood vessels, making an intricate operation even more successful for both patients," says Cohen. Ochsner physicians also use daVinci technology to perform hysterectomies and prostatectomies with plans for future use in cardiac procedures.

In 2002, Ochsner surgeons began using a laparoscope to dissect living-donor kidneys, reducing incisions and improving donor recovery, and robotics has elevated the procurement process even further. "This is the next level of technology," says Cohen. "Moving forward, we anticipate procuring all living-donor kidneys with the help of robotics." This technology isn't limited to certain individuals; anyone who is a candidate to donate a kidney is a candidate for this procedure.

According to United National Organ Sharing (UNOS), currently over 1,600 people in Louisiana and 80,000 nationwide are on kidney transplant waiting lists. "Hopefully this advancement, with the reduced impact it has on donors and improved transplant precision, will encourage more people to consider living-related kidney donations," remarks Cohen.

New Orleans-based Ochsner Medical Center has some of the nation's shortest wait times and highest success rates for kidney transplantation. Since its inception, the Ochsner Multi-Organ Transplant Institute has performed over 3,400 life-saving transplants. It is a Medicare approved transplant center for heart, liver and kidney, a Center of Excellence for most insurers, carries the Blue Distinction Centers for transplant, and has hotel accommodations on the premises. For more information, call Ochsner's 24-hour Transplant Hotline at 1-800-643-1635.

SOURCE Ochsner Medical Center
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