Abu Dhabi: A kidney transplant using a mini-incision was carried out for the first time at Zayed Military Hospital on Wednesday.
The 53-year-old patient's wife and cousin Amani Mohammad Al Noor agreed to be the donor for the operation.
Amani, aged 39, from Sudan, had the mini 7cm incision in the side of her abdomen while under general anaesthesia.
Her kidney was then removed and the incision closed. The whole operation took one-and-a-half-hours.
"It took me some time to be convinced that my wife would be my donor. But after trusting the doctors and finding such professional treatment, I agreed.
"They treated us as if we were citizens of this country. The operation was smooth and the medical follow-up tremendous," said Azhari Ali Mohammad Al Nour.
Azhari had to undergo a two-hour operation. He had been complaining of suffering from pain in his kidney for the past four months.
An incision was made in his lower abdomen. The new kidney was stitched into place within the pelvis and the incision closed.
The procedure results in less post-operative pain and a cosmetically more pleasing result.
Traditionally, the donor requires a 30cm-long incision with the removal of a rib to allow the surgeon access to the kidney, blood vessels and ureter.
"The mini-incision is a reliable way of removing the donated kidney. It's similar to the conventional method in its approach but does not include any rib resection and is done through a much smaller 7cm incision.
"Post-operative pain is much more tolerable in comparison with the old method," said Dr Ayman Obaid, transplant surgeon.
Dr Rashid Ahmad Al Nuaimi, Director of Medical Services, Zayed Military Hospital (ZMH) said that the hospital is now ready to accommodate similar patients with kidney problems after the success of the operation.
"We have hundreds of patients on the waiting list who go to countries such as the Philippines and other parts of Asia and come back with worse kidney conditions; currently we have 20 to 30 patients who are undergoing dialysis and plan to accommodate the hundreds on our waiting list soon."
He added that a team of specialists is currently working on the inauguration of a transplant centre which is expected to open within the next two years.
According to Dr Mustafa Ahmad Kazim, transplant nephrologist, Welcare Hospital, who also took part in the operation, some 350 patients per million population are currently on dialysis, 40 per cent of whom have a potential donor.
"The cost of dialysis is Dh140,000 per year; if you take two people off dialysis you will save Dh1 million in four years."
The transplant operation is not only economical it also helps to improve people's lives, he added.
Progressive: Two transplants in two months
It has been a good two months for Zayed Military Hospital (ZMH), first with its liver transplant last month and now its kidney transplant.
A team of five doctors and specialists took part in the first liver transplant surgery in the UAE at ZMH.
Bhavana Doshi, wife and donor, transferred her liver to patient Prakash Doshi during an eight-hour operation.
The operation went smoothly and both donor and recipient are currently out of hospital and continuing with their daily lives.