ROCHESTER, Minn. – Surgeons have successfully completed the first robotic-assisted kidney transplant at Mayo Clinic.
“Mayo Clinic has been a leader in the field of kidney transplants for six decades. We are proud to continue that tradition by completing the first robotic-assisted kidney transplant in Minnesota,” says Timucin Taner, M.D., Ph.D., division chair of Transplant Surgery at Mayo Clinic. Dr. Taner and Patrick Dean, M.D., performed the robotic-assisted surgery October 4 on a woman in her 60s who received the kidney from her daughter.
“A robotic-assisted kidney transplant requires a smaller incision. It lowers the risk that patients will experience complications, such as an infection or hernia. Patients may also have less discomfort and a speedier recovery, potentially meaning less time in the hospital after surgery,” says Dr. Dean, surgical director of Mayo Clinic’s Kidney Transplant Program in Minnesota.
Mayo Clinic is the largest integrated transplant center in the U.S. Mayo Clinic Transplant Center in Minnesota performed 311 kidney transplants in 2022 — more than any other transplant center in the state.
Mayo Clinic says most kidney transplants are done via open surgery, with an incision 4- to 8-inches long on the right or left side of the lower abdomen to transplant the donated kidney. For a robotic-assisted kidney transplant, the surgeon makes a roughly 2-inch incision around the belly button and a smaller incision to insert the robotic instruments. The surgeon sits at a console that controls the surgical robot.
“Robotic-assisted kidney transplant will not replace open kidney transplantation entirely,” says Dr. Taner. “It will, however, offer another option for those who may benefit from an alternative incision site — especially those with higher body mass indexes, previous hernias or prior abdominal surgeries.”