CMU performs Liver Transplant through Endoscopy: The 1st Time in Thailand and the 2nd Time in ASEAN

22 July 2020

Corporate Communication and Alumni Relations Center (CCARC)

A press conference on “Liver Transplant from living donor by Endoscopic Surgery; First time in Thailand and 2nd Time in ASEAN” on July 17, 2020, was presented by CMU’s Professor Bannakit Lojanapiwat, M.D., Dean, Faculty of Medicine, as press chairman and Assistant Professor Sanhawitch Chanrangsri, M.D. and Dr. Worrakitti Larbpisetpan, M.D., Lecturer, Unit of Surgery of Liver System of Biliary Treat and Pancreas, Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine.

The press conference was attended by Ms. Salinee Chang – Ngern, liver donor and Mr. Boonyuen Meemana, liver receiver, who were the first in Thailand to undergo a liver donor transplant through endoscopy on March 4, 2020.

Liver cancer is one of the highest cause of death of in Thailand and a liver transplant is the last option to be considered when treating patients suffering from liver cirrhosis or liver cancer. Liver transplants have a high success rate at 80 – 90 % and the rate of the donated liver failing is low compared with other methods.

Currently 2 methods are used for liver transplant in adults. The first method is to use a liver from a person who is brain dead and is presently the most common method. The advantage of this method is that it does not risk the donor’s life but the waiting period for a donor receiver can be many months.

The second method is a liver transplant from a living donor, either a direct cousin, husband or wife of the patient. This operation is more complicated but the advantage is that there is a shorter waiting period for the donor receiver.

Currently CMU’s Faculty of Medicine is the only institute in Thailand that can perform liver transplants from living donors and has conducted 28 transplants to date, where donor requires 7 – 10 days in hospital after surgery.

Dr. Worakitti Larbpisetpan mentioned that endoscopy surgery has advanced and is now a viable option. Endoscopy surgery reduces patient pain as the wound size is reduced and time spent in hospital is reduced to 5 days and the donor is able to rehabilitate faster and return back to a normal life. However, endoscopy surgery is not always possible if the donor has an unusual liver structure.

Endoscopy liver surgery is a complicated operation and requires a specialist team. This team includes Assistant Professor Anon Chotirosniramitr, M.D., Head of Unit of Liver System of Biliary Tract and Pancreas, Assistant Professor Sanhawitch Chanrangsri, M.D., Lecturer, Unit of Liver System of Biliary and Pancreas, Department of Surgery and a nursing team. Supporting this team includes an anesthetic doctor, medical doctor for liver disease, medical doctor for kidney disease, radiological doctor, physical therapist, and a dietician.