Multiple Organ Transplant in US Signals Beginning of a New Era

Monday, May 30, 2016

Multiple Organ Transplant

Doctors in the US have for the first time successfully transplanted a composite skull and scalp flap along with kidneys and pancreas in a 55-year-old patient – all coming from the same donor.

The patient was suffering from a non-healing scalp defect and declining organ kidney and pancreas function. Prior to this transplantation the patient had undergone kidney transplantation for diabetic kidney disease two decades earlier but that kidney too was failing. “Hopefully, this case and others like it will help to widen the narrow indications for this fascinating new field of reconstructive surgery,” said Jesse Creed Selber of The University of Texas M D Anderson Cancer Centre and colleagues.

This may open up the way for further procedures involving, “vascularised composite allotransplantation” (VCA) with organ transplants in patients who have already opted for lifelong immunosuppressive therapy. VCA involves transplant procedures combining different types of tissues such as skin, muscle, blood vessels, nerves and bone. However, the transplant also has major drawbacks – the need for immunosuppressive drugs to prevent the recipient’s system from rejecting the transplant.

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