Hospital Clinic performs the first robotic kidney transplantation with implantation of the graft through the vagina

Hospital Clinic of Barcelona performed pioneer worldwide kidney transplantation by implanting the kidney transvaginally in the recipient. This is a minimally-invasive surgical technique in which the donor organ is removed vaginally and then introduced into the recipient through the same channel. A team led by Dr. Antonio Alcaraz, Chief of the Urology Department at Hospital Clinic, performed this pioneering operation last October using robotic surgery with the da Vinci Xi robot.

Last summer, a team of surgeons headed by Dr. Alcaraz incorporated at Hospital Clinic the robotic surgery for kidney transplantation, which has numerous advantages as it minimizes complications and promotes a rapid recovery. Only 4 small incisions in the abdomen and a navel incision to introduce the organ are needed for the transplantation.

They have gone one step further and with robotic surgery, surgeons at Hospital Clinic not only have removed the kidney from the donor through the NOTES (Natural Orifice Transluminal Endoscopy Surgery) technique but also have placed the kidney into the recipient through the vagina. The process consists in sliding the graft, which is bagged to avoid any damage, through a sleeve placed in the vagina to isolate the cavity. The graft reaches the abdomen by an incision made at the end of the vaginal wall and then the robot gets the kidney and revascularizates the vessels.

"Our goal is to further reduce the postoperative pain caused by the incisions," explains Dr. Alcaraz. Hospital Clínic’s objective is to perform  40% of kidney transplantations using robotic surgery, and taking into account that about 40% are made to women, "we hope that by the end of 2016 we will have operated with this technique 8 or 10 women more", he adds.

"This technique represents a breakthrough in performing these interventions and it is totally reproducible, so it will hopefully benefit the greatest number of patients possible," concludes Dr. Alcaraz.