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Small Bowel Transplant

The University of Illinois at Chicago Transplant Center provides small bowel transplantation as an option to carefully selected patients.  Small bowel transplantation may be an option in patients with intestinal failure experiencing life threatening complications from total parenteral nutrition with: 

  • Short-gut syndrome caused by volvulus, gastroschisis, trauma, necrotizing enterocolitis, ischemia, and Crohn's disease.
  • Poor absorption caused by microvillus inclusion, secretory diarrhea, and autoimmune enteritis.
  • Poor motility caused by pseudo-obstruction, aganglionosis (Hirschsprung disease), visceral neuropathy.
  • Tumor such as desmoid tumor, familial polyposis (Gardner's disease).

Our Small Bowel Transplant Program offers the world’s largest experience with living related small bowel transplantation in a single institution.  Over the last nine years, our team has performed 42 of the 62 worldwide living donor intestinal transplants: nine adult and 14 pediatric living-related donor small bowel transplants with three patients being transplanted twice. 

  • First adult living donor bowel transplant in Illinois (1998)
  • First liver and small bowel transplants from same living donor into same recipient worldwide (2004)
  • First combined living donor liver-bowel transplant in the world (2005)
    • Of all successful cases worldwide, only five children have experienced catch-up growth after a combined liver/bowel transplant
  • Largest living donor intestinal transplant program worldwide
  • One of two programs worldwide offering living donors for the abdominal organs: kidney liver, pancreas, intestine, combined liver/bowel, combined kidney/pancreas
  • Only program offering combined living donor transplant from parent to child less than five years of age

Recent improvements in immunosuppressant agents make small bowel transplantation a more feasible option for patients with irreversible, end-stage intestinal failure for whom all conventional treatments have failed.  In 1998, University of Illinois at Chicago surgeons performed a successful segmental bowel transplant from a living-related donor, one of the first such procedures in the world and the first in Illinois.  The procedure was performed between HLA-identical siblings and both donor and recipient recovered rapidly with no complications.
Successful bowel transplantation provides for lower morbidity and lower overall costs when compared to the impact of chronic, end-stage bowel disease. For appropriate candidates, small bowel transplantation can replace total parenteral nutrition (TPN), which is associated with catheter-related thrombosis, sepsis, cholestatic liver disease and cirrhosis and is exceedingly expensive.



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