Scarless Donation Surgery FAQs
Single-incision laparoscopic kidney removal has become the standard approach for living kidney donors at the University of Maryland Medical Center. We are the first hospital in Maryland and only the third hospital in the U.S. to offer this procedure. Our surgeons have safely performed hundreds of these operations, and have re-defined the state of the art with respect to advances in kidney donation.
Click on the questions listed below, or scroll down the page, to find answers to some of patients' most frequently asked questions about this innovative procedure.
Q: What surgical technique is most commonly used to remove kidneys from living donors?
In recent years, laparoscopic surgery has become the standard technique employed by surgeons to remove kidneys from living donors. This approach requires three or four tiny incisions in the abdomen, through which the surgeon inserts a camera and other instruments. Another four-inch incision is also required through which the kidney is then removed.
Q: How does the single-incision surgical option differ from traditional laparoscopic surgery?
Single-incision laparoscopic kidney removal actually employs the same tools and techniques as conventional laparoscopic surgery. However, instead of making several incisions in the donor's abdomen, the surgeon uses a specially-designed port which is placed in the belly button and can accommodate all of the surgeon's instruments. Using this approach, surgeons can accomplish everything, including removal of the donor kidney, through a single opening in the belly button.
Q: How is the single-incision surgery performed?
To remove a kidney using the single-incision laparoscopic technique, surgeons use a single opening through the donor's belly button. In this opening, they place a specially-designed port, which accommodates a camera and two laparoscopic instruments which are manipulated by the surgeon to separate the kidney from its attachments in the abdomen. The kidney is removed through that same opening. Only a tiny bandage is required to close the navel, and there are no scars.
Q: How many hospitals use this single-incision surgery to remove kidneys from living donors?
The University of Maryland Medical Center is the first and only hospital in Maryland, and only the third hospital in the United States, to perform a single-incision laparoscopic kidney removal surgery through the belly button of a living kidney donor.
Q: Which donors would qualify to be candidates for this special procedure?
Most kidney donors will qualify for this approach.
Q: What are the benefits of laparoscopic kidney removal for living donors?
Those donors who undergo the single-incision laparoscopic procedure often experience a faster recovery than those who undergo the traditional approach. In addition, these donors also come out of surgery with only a single scar that often disappears.
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