Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, a part of Baylor Scott & White Health, is the first Texas medical center to perform a kidney transplant on a high body mass index (BMI) patient using a surgical robot. This milestone makes Baylor University Medical Center one of only ten U.S. medical centers to accomplish the complicated surgery.
The surgery was performed by Eric Martinez, MD, a transplant surgeon on the medical staff at Baylor University Medical Center and surgical director of the kidney transplant program at Baylor University Medical Center.
Jeff Cochrane, 52, an electrician from Troup, received the transplanted kidney from his 21-year-old son. Cochrane had been on dialysis for three years and had a BMI of 35, which put him at higher risk for complications such as infection and wound healing.
"I am so grateful for the transplant team at Baylor," said Cochrane. "They answered all my questions, they explained the risks and outlined the entire process in detail and then offered the option of robotic transplant."
"We inserted the kidney into a small opening just above the belly button instead of the groin area that has layers of fat," said Dr. Martinez. "This reduces the risk of infection and improves healing by reducing the length and depth of the standard incision through the excess fat and skin that is in the lower portions of the belly for many patients. Using the robot also improves how well we maneuver during the surgery and enhances our visualization of the entire process because the images are dramatically magnified."
About 35% of Texans are obese and nearly 70% of the state's residents are either overweight or obese, according to the Trust for America's Health 2019 Better Policies for a Healthier America report. Robotic surgery can offer alternatives to those Texans in need of a kidney transplant.
"About half the kidney patients who are screened for transplant at our hospital have weight issues," said Dr. Martinez. "This robotic surgery opens up options for heavier kidney transplant candidates and is much less invasive. We want to help all of our patients, regardless of weight, to have the opportunity to have a transplant and get back to living their best and healthiest life."
Baylor University Medical Center is one of fewer than 10 centers in the U.S. to invest the time and resources to develop kidney transplant expertise with robotic technology. Transplant surgeons on the medical staff at Baylor University Medical Center and Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center – Fort Worth plan to offer the robotic option to any kidney transplant patient with a higher BMI and a living donor.
* Physicians provide clinical services as members of the medical staff at one of Baylor Scott & White Health’s subsidiary, community or affiliated medical centers and do not provide clinical services as employees or agents of those medical centers or Baylor Scott & White Health.