Father-Daughter Liver Transplant

There are more than 106,000 people waiting for a liver transplant and less than 15,000 available donors. Doctors want to turn those numbers around by offering living donors a less-invasive surgery. As Robyn Haines reports, the new transplant helped an entire family survive the scare of their life. Doctor Ben Samstein is one of the first surgeons in the U.S. to perform a minimally invasive liver transplant from an adult to a child. He is the Surgical Director of the Living Donor Liver Transplant Program at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia in New York City. The other two places where the surgery is being done are France and Korea. Instead of a 25-centimeter cut from chest to belly button, surgeons make five one-inch cuts across the donor's stomach and one small cut across the lower abdomen to retrieve the organ. Instead of the traditional transplant where donors spend six weeks laid up, the patient is back on their feet in about two weeks … especially important for a family dealing with two patients. The piece of liver will grow as the child grows. Surgeons say patients who receive livers from a living donor do better but only 5-percent of liver transplants use this method because it takes such a toll on the donor. Doctors hope offering a minimally-invasive approach will lead to more living donors.

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