Innovative Kidney Transplant Treatments
With more than 6,000 completed kidney transplant surgeries, our University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) team has the expertise to know what works well and what can be improved. We use several effective methods in kidney transplant surgery and are always developing innovative techniques to better serve our patients.
Here are a few examples:
- Advanced kidney surgery techniques
- Dedicated dialysis access clinic
- Research to improve transplants
- Specialized kidney transplants for type B recipients
Our transplant program explores ways to improve surgery and recovery for donors and recipients. These techniques include:
Laparoscopic kidney donation: Ours was the first program in Maryland and the third in the U.S. to perform single incision laparoscopic donor nephrectomies through the donor’s belly button in 2009. Since then, our team of surgeons has removed nearly 250 kidneys from living donors with this technique, sending them out of the operating room with only a small bandage and a barely visible scar. Learn more about living donor kidney donation.
Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) transplant in one operation: We offer an unusual procedure that allows patients with polycystic kidney disease (PKD) to have both kidneys removed and a living kidney donor kidney implanted in just one surgery. Most transplant centers do this process in two separate surgeries.
Three-artery kidney transplant: In about 1 percent of donors, the kidney has 3 arteries instead of the usual 1 artery and 1 vein. Our skilled surgeons are able to reroute a vein so that the kidney can still be used for a transplant.
Exploring robotic surgery: Our next phase of innovation is researching how to use robotics to improve living donor kidney surgery. Our kidney transplant surgeons and urologist who specializes in robotic surgery are currently investigating this technique. Meet our team.
Dialysis can be a tiring and time-consuming process for many patients who experience kidney failure. We offer a dedicated dialysis access clinic to improve dialysis for our patients.
Some features of our dialysis access clinic include:
- Advanced surgical expertise: Our specially trained transplant surgeons are the same surgeons who implant dialysis access portals. They understand every aspect of kidney function and can help you get the best results from your portal and dialysis.
- Early, preventive care: We seek to manage your dialysis needs before a problem arises. We prefer to implant a dialysis access portal early to avoid infection-prone temporary catheters, or tubes that enter your blood vessels. We also like to list transplant-eligible patients as early as we can to minimize the time you spend on dialysis and to keep you as healthy as possible.
- Multiple locations: We offer dialysis access at various locations, so our patients don’t have to travel too far for treatment. Our locations are especially helpful for patients who must receive dialysis several times weekly. We offer access surgery at:
Learn more about dialysis access.
One benefit of receiving care in a university setting like UMMC is that we are constantly investigating new treatments. Our kidney transplant team works closely with our colleagues across the university to discover new ways to care for patients.
Here are a few examples of how we put those treatments into action:
Immunosuppression drugs: For 20 years, we have been involved in bringing new immunosuppressive therapies to patients. Our patients have participated in early trials of drugs that transplant centers now commonly use.
Helping transplants work longer: We are part of a multi-center study looking at ways to prevent ischemia reperfusion injury. Ischemia reperfusion injury is tissue damage that can happen when blood re-enters an organ.
Molecular techniques: We are part of multi-center studies looking at ways of evaluating kidney biopsies using molecular techniques. Labs analyze DNA, RNA and other genetic materials in new ways. We are also involved in other studies using these techniques to diagnose rejection or other kidney transplant problems.
Learn more about our research and clinical trials.
We work aggressively to make opportunities for patients to receive a kidney transplant. When national kidney transplant rules changed the criteria for who could receive kidneys from patients with type A2 blood, we prepared ahead of time. This preparation allowed us to help more patients receive transplants as soon as possible.
Here is what we did:
Patients with the rare type B blood take longer to match. In December 2014, the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) changed its longstanding national policy about who can receive a deceased donor kidney. The new policy allows A2 kidneys to be transplanted into type B patients. A2 organs have more flexibility in their compatibility with other blood types.
When we learned that OPTN was considering a change, we evaluated our entire list of type B patients. By the time the new rules went into effect, we had listed patients to receive an A2 kidney whenever it was appropriate.
Between December 2014 and July 2015, our center was extremely busy. Our team was thrilled to be able to provide so many transplants to our patients.
Of the 244 kidney transplantation centers in the United States today, as identified by the National Kidney Center, just 10 percent offer A2 to B transplants, helping to save more lives. We are proud to be among that 10 percent.
For additional information about our kidney transplant program or to speak to someone about becoming a living kidney donor, please call 1-410-328-5408 or 1-800-492-5538.
If you are interested in becoming a living kidney donor, please download our questionnaire.
For referring physicians
To refer a patient or get more information, please call 1-800-373-4111. A physician service representative from Consultation and Referral Services will direct your call to the appropriate physician or department.
For more details, please visit our section for referring physicians.