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Rare kidney auto-transplant performed at USA hospital

A USA Health urologist recently worked with a visiting surgeon to perform USA Health University Hospital’s second-ever renal auto-transplant.

This is a rare surgery where a patient’s kidney is removed and implanted elsewhere in the body to restore function.

Dr. Christopher Keel, a urologist with USA Health University Urology and interim chair of urology at the Frederick P. Whiddon College of Medicine at the University of South Alabama, worked with Dr. Anil S. Paramesh, professor of surgery, urology and pediatrics at Tulane University School of Medicine, to perform the complex procedure Aug. 11.

The surgery, along with a previous one by Keel and Paramesh two years ago, are the only kidney auto-transplants to have been performed in south Alabama.

“This goes to show that our team is engaged with our regional academic community to provide subspecialized care to the people of the Gulf Coast,” Keel said.

In the recent case, the patient had suffered from a narrowing of the ureter, a tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder, a condition that can cause kidney failure, Keel said.

Re-implanting the kidney near the bladder allows the patient to retain the use of both kidneys, reducing the risk of kidney dialysis. An auto-transplant also eliminates the possibility of organ rejection since the organ comes from the patient’s own body.

“This allows the patient to keep the kidney,” Keel said, adding that the surgery was a success, and the patient is recovering well.

The surgery involved a multidisciplinary team that included general surgery, urology and the intensive care unit at University Hospital.

Keel said Paramesh served as one of his mentors during his residency at Tulane’s medical school.

“He was one of my attending physicians when I was an intern,” he said. “I did a lot of kidney transplants with him, so our relationship gives our regional patients access to this unique treatment option without having to travel.”

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