USC urologists to perform world's first bladder transplant

Urologists at Keck Medicine of USC could be on the verge of a historical medical advancement. 

They’ve launched a clinical trial to perform the world’s first human bladder transplant. It's a complex procedure performed with the aid of a robot, that could help tens of millions of people around the world with various bladder conditions. 

The trial is now screening participates. 

Founding Director of USC Urology and principal investigator of the clinical trial Dr. Inderbir Gill said something like this has never been done before. 

"Patients with a terminal bladder condition that significantly compromises their quality of life and need replacement of the bladder. So far, we have been using bowel or intestine to replace the bladder, and while it gets the job done, it does bring its own host of problems," Dr. Gill told FOX 11. 

 Inderbir Gill, MD

He says those problems could eventually lead to renal failure. As to how well this new procedure will expel urine is unknown. 

Dr. Gill said while the actual transplant operation is not difficult, what makes it a risky operation is the removal of the bladder from the donor.

"The bladder is a deep pelvic organ and the blood supply to it has not been fully explored in the deep pelvis. So that is what we have been developing over the past year and half."

He said the removal of the bladder in initial cases took over 10-hours, however, they have now reduced that time to just 4-hours. 

The surgery will be done completely using robotic surgery. According to USC, robotic surgery is an advanced form of minimally invasive surgery in which surgeons use a high-definition, three-dimensional camera to guide a robot to perform surgery using smaller, more precise incisions with more dexterity than is possible using hand-held surgical tools.

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