Liver Transplant Program Earns an International Recognition
The liver transplant program at The Nebraska Medical Center, now in its 27th year, has earned an international recognition and a worldwide referral base. Since its inception in 1985, the program has performed more than 2,500 liver transplants and more than 500 pediatric liver transplants, making it one of the most active and advanced centers in the world.
"What makes our program so successful is the mix of disciplines and the fact that we have some of the leading physicians in the field right here," says Wendy Grant, MD, an associate professor of Surgery at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) and one of the country's leading surgeons in liver and intestinal transplants.
A dedicated and experienced team of multi-disciplinary health care professionals ensures appropriate care before, during and after the transplant, which is critical to successful transplant outcomes, notes Dr. Grant. "We set very high standards for the care of our patients," says Dr. Grant, "not only medically, but also in terms of the human side."
Despite the many challenges inherit with transplant patients, The Nebraska Medical Center continues to achieve patient survival rates that exceed national averages due to both its experience and expertise and to the large volume of patients it treats.
In addition, Dr. Grant and members of the transplant team are continually working to make advancements in the program through their involvement in both clinical and bench research. "The advantage to patients is that this means we are not complacent in our care," says Dr. Grant. "Through research and clinical trials, we are constantly trying to figure out how we can do transplants better."
Dr. Grant also performs intestinal transplants, a program which ranks second worldwide in the number of transplants performed. Alan Langnas. DO, chief of the Division of Transplant and professor of Surgery at UNMC, a, transplant surgeon and director of the Transplant Center, started the program in the early 1990s. Today, physicians from all over the world come to The Nebraska Medical Center to observe how the transplant team performs liver and intestinal transplants.
The transplant specialists were among the first to begin performing combined liver and small bowel transplants. In 1993, the medical center became one of the first transplant programs to perform isolated intestinal transplants and is one of a few facilities in the country with expertise in this unique transplantation technique - and one of the busiest.
The program also performs living donor transplants, which involves transplanting a portion of the donor's liver into the recipient patient. In time, both portions regenerate and grow into normal-sized livers due to the liver's remarkable ability to regenerate and adjust its size to the host. While living donors make up only 5 percent of the total transplant volume, it provides another opportunity to help close the shortage of donor organs.
"Our program is committed to not only providing the highest quality of care, but also to innovate and to push for new treatment advances so that we can provide more opportunities for people to receive life-saving therapies," says Dr. Langnas.