2007 Press Releases
Saint Barnabas Health Care System Kidney Transplant Urologist Performs Unprecedented 2,000 Surgeries
Livingston, N.J. Matthew I. S. Whang, M.D., Director of Transplant Urology at the Saint Barnabas Health Care System Renal and Pancreas Transplant Division performed his 2,000th kidney transplant surgery last month. A resident of Livingston, N.J., Dr. Whang’s vast experience in attaching a transplanted kidney’s ureter to the urinary bladder offers organ recipients a better chance for a successful transplant.
In the realm of surgery, research has shown that there is a direct correlation between a surgeon’s experience and the patient’s outcome. Over the past 14 years, Dr. Whang’s expertise has reduced the rate of urologic complications in kidney transplant surgery for this combined transplant program, located at Saint Barnabas Medical Center and Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, to approximately 4 percent—well below the historic urological complication rate of 10 to 20 percent.
“It is critical that the ureter is connected properly to the bladder if the transplanted kidney is going to survive,” says Dr. Whang. “New ureteral reimplantation techniques and instruments such as ureteral stents prevent leaks and blockages and have helped to shorten the typical hospital stay after kidney transplantation to three to four days.”
“Successful organ transplantation requires a well synchronized and highly skilled surgical team,” explains Shamkant Mulgaonkar, M.D., Chief, Saint Barnabas Health Care System Renal and Pancreas Transplant Division. Dr. Whang’s portion of the procedure encompasses the delicate final steps in a three-hour surgery. The Saint Barnabas Renal and Pancreas Transplant Division is unique in the country for having a single transplant urologist performing 95 percent of the ureteral reimplantation procedures. “The experience and consistency that Dr. Whang brings to every procedure has yielded extraordinary results that have helped our centers achieve superior short- and long- term graft survival rates,” adds Dr. Mulgaonkar.
Dr. Whang has perfected additional procedures that can normalize life after transplantation. For example, he can dilate the patient’s bladder or augment it using intestine to accept the large quantities of urine that a healthy kidney generates. “It is not uncommon for the bladder of a person with renal failure to shrink to a volume of less than one ounce. A small bladder can rupture if it is attached to a transplanted kidney that generates up to 10 – 12 ounces of urine within a few hours,” he explains. For those who have lost their bladder due to cancer or other disease, he can construct a new bladder from the patient’s own intestines.
Dr. Whang has also addressed the growing incidence of prostate cancer in male kidney transplant recipients. More living donor possibilities and other medical advances have made it possible for people in the 50s, 60s and even in their 70s to receive kidney transplantation. Dr. Whang and the transplant team were one of the first to establish guidelines for the screening and treatment of prostate cancer in renal transplant recipients that have become a model for other programs across the country.
Dr. Whang plans to share his surgical experience with other transplant surgeons by publishing the urological complications data based on his 2000 kidney transplants.
Date: July 16, 2007