A medical team from the General Hospital of Zone Number 33 of the Mexican Institute of Social Security in Nuevo León (IMSSNL), achieved something unprecedented: transplanting four kidneys in less than a week, in different parts of the country.

Who was the team in charge of transplanting the kidneys?

The team of surgeons was led by doctors Emilio Pérez Rocha León and Josué Chávez Rodríguez, who traveled to various cities to perform kidney transplants.

“They were very exhausting days of more than 24 hours each, but it is worth it because we know that, with all this work, four patients will improve their quality of life,” they said.

This was the patients’ trip …

The journey through Mexico was as follows: On August 28, they traveled to Mexico City to the High Specialty Medical Unit Hospital de Traumatología y Ortopedia where they transplanted two kidneys to a 27-year-old patient.

Then, on September 1, they went to Ciudad Madero, Tamaulipas, to do the same with two other kidneys from a brain-dead donor to a 30-year-old patient.

Since the medical transplant unit was founded in 2009, 143 kidney transplants have been performed, making the recent conference a great achievement.

The problem of transplants in Mexico

In Mexico, 20 people die every day waiting for a transplant, according to data from the National Transplant Center (CENATRA). In addition, every 10 minutes someone joins the waiting list in search of an organ or tissue.

However, only three out of every thousand people die in circumstances that could lead to a donation, said graduates of the Faculty of Medicine (FM) of UNAM, who perform their social service at CENATRA.

In life, a kidney or liver is usually given

In life, a kidney or liver is usually given. “Most are kidney, because we have two and one is donated to a direct relative. As for the liver, only a fragment is extracted that performs essential liver functions and helps the recipient’s quality of life; liver transplants are very delicate, both in their procurement (obtaining) and in postoperative care ”.

Although many organs are susceptible to transplant (with exceptions such as the brain or the eyes). Those that commonly pass from one individual to another are the kidney, liver, heart, pancreas, and lung. Meanwhile, the most frequent tissues are the corneas, bone, skin and tendons.

Hands and face

Arm, hand, and face transplants are called “composite tissue.” In Mexico there are two records of the process carried out in the upper extremities. “Martín Iglesias Morales, from the Salvador Zubirán National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition (INCMNSZ), performed two successful hand transplants, the first in Latin America.”

Regarding those of face, in our country none has been done, although there are three teams, all of the Health Sector, where they could be carried out: the INCMNSZ, the Gea González Hospital and the General Hospital of Mexico. Around 50 have been carried out in the world: in China (the first), France and the United States.

An expert in bone, tendon and skin transplants, Gutiérrez Salgado indicated that the most common of these tissues are bone and tendon. “They are carried out with some frequency to soccer players and athletes; it is donated to them to recover cruciate ligament. It is done through a national or foreign tissue bank ”.

Academic training

In Mexico there is no specialty in transplants. For these processes, doctors with a solid training and specialties are needed, depending on the organ or tissue to be treated.

“Transplants are performed by a very small group of specialized reconstructive plastic surgeons, who are located in three places in the country, as well as general surgeons who study a subspecialty in transplants outside the country. They return as transplantologists and are basically dedicated to the process in the kidney, liver and pancreas ”, he added.

Heart and lung transplant specialists are cardiothoracic surgeons; for corneas are ophthalmologists. And for hands, face, bone and tendons, reconstructive plastic surgeons.

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