Published: August 25, 2008
GREENVILLE, N.C. – For all the lifesaving potential they offer, organ transplants can be painful experiences for donors.
A typical nephrectomy, or kidney removal, brings a new life for the recipient but several days in the hospital and up to 12 weeks of recovery time for the donor.
By introducing a less invasive organ removal method to eastern North Carolina, a Greenville surgeon is making the life-saving sacrifice less scarring for organ donors.
On July 1, Dr. Jonathan Taylor of Eastern Urological Associates led a team performing the first laparoscopic kidney removal for transplant ever at Pitt County Memorial Hospital.
Taylor, who worked with Dr. Gregg Murphy, said the laparoscopic procedure fits with a trend toward less invasive treatments. It has several advantages over a traditional, open nephrectomy:
- Less scarring – The laparoscopic procedure requires a pair of small abdominal incisions, rather than the 6- to 10-inch cut that comes with open kidney removal.
- Shorter hospital stays – Laparoscopic patients leave the hospital one to two days after surgery.
- Faster recovery – Laparoscopic patients can return to work within a couple of weeks, compared to eight to 12 weeks for open nephrectomy patients.
“These patients use very little in the way of pain medications in the hospital or at home, so the recovery is much, much faster,” he said.
A speedier recovery made the laparoscopic procedure appealing to Pink Hill resident Tonna Segall, Taylor’s July 1 patient. Segall left PCMH one day after donating a kidney to her father. By her second day at home, she was controlling pain with over-the-counter medicine. Segal was pain-free after a week and a half, and back to work Aug. 1.
“I was glad we did it that way, so I could get back to work quicker,” she said. “I’m not the sort of person that stays at home much. I love to be on the go, working.”
UHS includes Bertie Memorial Hospital, Chowan Hospital, Duplin General Hospital, Heritage Hospital, Outer Banks Hospital, Pitt County Memorial Hospital, Roanoke-Chowan Hospital and physician practices and is affiliated with the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University.
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