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Physicians Update


Physicians Update

Fall 2009

Intestinal Transplant Performs 100th Procedure


The Intestinal Transplant Program at UCLA has made significant strides since becoming one of the first programs of its kind in 1991. In June, UCLA performed its 100th intestinal transplant, and is one of only five such programs in the country to reach this important milestone.

“Less than 200 intestinal transplants are performed in the world annually,” says Douglas Farmer, M.D., director of the Intestinal Transplant Program at UCLA. “It’s basically the last solid-organ transplant to experience demonstrated success,” he explains, adding that UCLA’s intestinal transplant survival rates are equal to or better than any center in the world.

In collaboration with UCLA surgeon Ronald Busuttil, M.D., Ph.D., who performed the first intestinal transplant at UCLA, Dr. Farmer helped to establish the program within the infrastructure of UCLA’s high-volume liver transplantation program (which marked its 25th anniversary this year). Intestinal transplants are highly complex procedures often performed in combination with liver transplants because many patients with short bowel syndrome or dependence on total parenteral nutrition in the setting of short bowel syndrome or intestinal failure also have advanced liver disease.

“We take patients who would basically die without transplantation,” Dr. Farmer explains. “Our patients took a chance on this procedure in the early years despite the odds, and their courage has allowed us to make this a better, safer procedure for all people.”

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