Small intestine transplant, also referred to as a small bowel transplant, is a surgical procedure that aims at replacing a diseased or shortened small intestine of the patient with a healthy part taken from a suitable donor. Experts specializing in intestine transplants in India suggest that the procedure can help the patient to lead a normal and healthy life, with alleviated symptoms and lesser restrictions. However, you will still need to stay in touch with your healthcare team and go for regular evaluations to ensure that the transplanted bowel is working fine.
Who needs an intestinal transplant?
An intestinal transplant is recommended to patients whose intestines are not healthy enough to carry out their functions and the damage is irreversible. In other words, it is an option for patients with bowel failure, who can no longer stay dependent on TPN or total parenteral nutrition, which refers to the intravenous administration of nutritional fluids, with the help of a drip, in patients whose intestines are not able to absorb essential nutrients from food. Bowel failure can be a result of many factors, two of the most common of which is short bowel syndrome.
What is short bowel syndrome?
Short bowel syndrome is a condition marked by the inability of the body to take nutrients from the food. It is the small intestine where most of the nutrients are absorbed and this is the reason why is normal functioning is extremely important. Doctors from the best hospital for intestinal transplant in India suggest that short bowel syndrome can be a result of any of the following:
- If a part of your small intestine has been removed surgically for treating a serious disease or ailment, like cancer, traumatic injury, clots etc.
- If there is a congenital malformation, owing to which part of your bowel is either missing or damaged.
- If you have Necrotising enterocolitis, a condition in which the patient's bowel cells tend to die over time, primarily due to the lack of oxygenated blood.
- If your bowel has become twisted
Patients who have small bowel syndrome need total parenteral nutrition and although it may work for some time, the patient is likely to develop complications if it is done on a long term basis. Some of the most common complications include shortage of a Healthy vein for catheter insertion, infection at the site of insertion or liver disease.
What to expect before the transplant?
If you are planning to go for an intestinal transplant, there are a lot of things that are to be taken care of and many factors that need to be taken into account. Not everyone qualifies to be a candidate for the procedure and that is why proper evaluation and assessment is a must for determining whether you can undergo the procedure or not. The best doctors in India suggest that proper assessment is also important because it helps to prepare for any potential complication beforehand, which in turn helps to negate the risks of the same.
Some of the common diagnostic modalities that would be required to undergo are:
- Blood test for assessing liver function and negating the risks of serious infections.
- CT scan and ultrasound scan for detailed imaging guidance
- Colonoscopy for precision-based examination of the bowels
- Tests for assessing lung function
Getting familiar with different types of bowel transfer procedures:
There are two different approaches for performing double transplant:
Small bowel transplant in which only the intestine is to be replaced. This is recommended to patients who do not have any other liver disease and just bowel failure.
Small bowl and liver transplant, which is performed on patients whose liver has also become damaged beyond repair. So both the organs will be replaced simultaneously.
If you are planning to undergo an intestinal transplant, it is important to see a specialist in the field and get yourself evaluated.