Science/Tech

Surgeons Perform World’s First Simultaneous Kidney Transplant and Weight Loss Surgery

A 35-year-old woman from Chicago named Aidee Diaz has become the world's first woman to simultaneously undergo a kidney transplant and sleeve gastrectomy. After being diagnosed with kidney disease, Diaz was put on steroids and other medications and, due to these medications, her weight increased from 180 pounds to 300 pounds. She required dialysis three times a week.

Obesity can cause serious complications during an organ transplant. But the researchers found a way to ease the organ transplant procedure in people who suffer from obesity.

Now, obese patients can undergo two procedures during the same surgery. A kidney transplant and sleeve gastrectomy can be successfully performed under one general anesthesia. These surgeries are conducted with the help of robots and surgeons can use minimally invasive techniques.  

"Many obese patients come to us because they have been excluded from transplant waiting lists or been told that they must lose weight prior to transplantation. Unfortunately, successful weight loss in patients with chronic illness is uncommon and often unrealistic," said Dr. Enrico Benedetti, professor and head of surgery, University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System.

Surgeons removed 70 percent of Diaz's stomach. Immediately after this surgery, Diaz's kidney was replaced.

"The combination of gastric sleeve surgery and kidney transplantation could provide patients with the greatest benefit post-transplantation, when there is the greatest risk related to the combined complications of obesity and renal failure," said Subhashini Ayloo, assistant professor of surgery at UIC, according to a press release.

The researchers want to investigate whether a weight loss plus kidney transplant surgery is better than only kidney transplant or not. The research protocol was approved by the institutional review board (IRB), the press release said. 

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