Seoul National University Hospital boasts lead in laparoscopic liver transplants


SEOUL, South Korea, May 22, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — A 33-year-old woman from the United Arab Emirates, who suffered from autoimmune hepatitis, has received a new liver from a donor with different blood types in Korea and left the hospital healthy.

Photo show the drastic difference in post-surgery scars between the ordinary laparotomy (left) and laparoscopic surgery

She required liver transplantation from a living donor and sought treatment in UAE and Germany, but UAE’s health authorities suggested them to go Korea for surgery.

When her husband, who initially volunteered to donate his organ, found out his liver was not suitable, he was hugely disappointed. However, upon hearing that Korean doctors can perform liver transplants with different blood types, his brother, came forth. The donor showed great satisfaction because SNUH introduced a laparoscopic surgery that sharply reduced the scar.

Korea is a leading medical power when it comes to surgeons’ skills with one of the top liver transplantation teams in the world. Seoul National University Hospital is the first hospital worldwide to perform the 100th “pure laparoscopic living donor hepatectomy.”

The surgery, despite its complexity and difficulty, is performed mainly due to its cosmetic benefits. In comparison to other liver surgeries, pure laparoscopic living donor hepatectomy leaves little to no scars making minimal incisions in the abdomen and also reduces recovery time for both the patient and donor.

It is a technique that involves making multiple 0.5-1.5 centimeter incisions in the stomach through which cameras and equipment are inserted in the body. Part of the liver is then removed and replaced via a small incision made underneath the bellybutton.

Professor Lee Kwang-woong, a hepatic and transplant surgeon and associate professor of the Department of Surgery at SNUH, led the team.

“Pure laparoscopy is a brand new surgery that takes four to five hours, and requires advanced technology” Pf. Lee said, “However, the laparoscopic procedure is quite advanced in Korea in comparison to other Asian countries or the West due to insurance support, technological advances, and experience with liver surgery.”

The surgery takes four to five hours and requires an expert team to use a variety of 3D scopes, surgical tools, and complicated techniques for successful operation.

“Compared to other major centers in the world, we are the leading group in this procedure,” Pf. Lee said. “We have a 99-percent annual success rate.”

Maria Jung
International Healthcare Center
Seoul National University Hospital
Tel : +82-2-2072-7447
E-mail: [email protected]

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