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Less invasive kidney transplant technique spurring donations

s pain, a shorter hospital stay usually three days and a faster return to regular food than with the open procedure.

The result is a greater number of people coming forward to donate a kidney.

Statistics from the hospital confirm this. In 1999, the year before introduction of the laparoscopic technique at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, the hospital performed 14 living-donor kidney transplants. In 2002, the hospital performed 28 living-donor transplants.

The number of living donors also increased in each of the intervening years at the hospital, rising from 14 in 1999, to 20 in 2000, to 26 in 2001 to 28 in 2002.

Statewide, the number of living donor kidney transplants increased from 123 to 171 from 1999 to 2002. Nationally, the number of living donor kidney transplants increased from 4,884 to 6,611.

Despite the increased numbers of living donors, the majority of kidneys used in transplants come from previously healthy individuals who have died and donated their organs. Such kidneys can perform extremely well, but Dr. Laskow noted that kidneys from living donors are preferable. They tend to last longer up to six years longer and function with fewer complications. Many years of medical research also show that donors can function normally with only one kidney and are not at greater risk of developing future health problems, he added.

However, even with the greater number of people coming forward to donate thanks to the laparoscopic technique, the demand for kidneys still far outstrips supply. More than 55,000 people are currently on a waiting list for a kidney nationwide, with approximately 2,300 in New Jersey, according to The United Network for Organ Sharing.

A person waiting for a kidney to become available from someone who has died can remain on the waiting list for three years. By contrast, a person who receives one from a living donor can have a kidney in a matter of weeks.

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Contact: Kristen Walsh
kristen.walsh@rwjuh.edu
732-937-8521
UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
26-Aug-2003


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