New York: In a major breakthrough, surgeons at India-based Medanta Hospital and Michigan-based Henry Ford Hospital have successfully transplanted kidneys into 50 recipients using an innovative robot-assisted procedure.
In this surgery, called 'Icy' technique, the organ is cooled with sterile ice during the operation.
The research advances minimally invasive robotic surgery as a safe alternative to traditional open surgery.
"Minimally invasive surgery reduces post-operative pain and minimises complications in comparison to conventional surgery," said Mani Menon, chair of Henry Ford's Vattikuti Urology Institute.
According to Rajesh Kumar Ahlawat, chairman, division of urology at Medanta, "The use of robot-assisted surgery in transplanting those kidneys is comparatively a frontier."
The researchers knew that kidney function was partially impaired in recipients if blood flow was interrupted for longer than 30 minutes during transplant.
So they decided to chill both the donor kidney and the transplant site with sterile ice slush in hopes of increasing the amount of time in which they could safely learn and perfect the robot-assisted surgery, said the study published in the journal of the European Association of Urology.
"To our knowledge, ours is the first study to use renal cooling during robotic kidney transplant. It had already proved useful during minimally invasive prostate surgeries," added Menon.
After three years of planning and simulated surgeries at Henry Ford, 50 patients underwent robotic kidney transplant at Medanta Hospital between January and October 2013.
In all, Gurgaon-based Medanta Hospital has performed 54 operations and International Kidney and Renal Diseases at Ahmedabad, India, has done 56 operations - for a total of 110 transplants in one year.
After three years of planning and simulated surgeries at Henry Ford, 50 consecutive transplant patients who had volunteered for the minimally invasive procedure underwent robotic kidney transplant at Medanta Hospital between January and October 2013.
In all, Medanta Hospital has performed 54 operations and International Kidney and Renal Diseases at Ahmedabad, India, has done 56 operations, for a total of 110 transplants in one year.
"None of the patients developed blood or urine leaks, infections or other complications from their surgical wounds. None required dialysis after surgery," informed Pranjal R. Modi from department of urology and transplantation surgery at Medanta.
"The individual surgeons involved had built an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect over 30 years of collaborative work," said Menon.
The researchers noted that further studies will be needed before robotic kidney transplant is widely accepted as a 'reasonable' alternative to conventional transplantation.