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Robotic-Assisted Living Donor Transplant Procedure Saves Father of Three

Lionel Lewis always knew that he would need a kidney transplant one day. Diagnosed with kidney disease at the age of 13, it wasn’t until he was married and a father of three children that he had to face the reality of this life-saving operation.

“Eventually, my kidneys started to fail, but fortunately enough, I started the process of getting the kidney transplant going through a transplant evaluation,” says Lewis.

Jasmine and Lionell LewisLewis entrusted the experts at VCU Health Hume-Lee Transplant Center to help him along his transplant journey. In fact, experts such as kidney transplant surgeon and director of the VCU Hume-Lee Transplant Center, Marlon F. Levy, MD, are at the forefront of living donor kidney transplants using advanced robotic-assisted surgical techniques.

For Lewis, he was fortunate to find that his wife, Jasmine, was a donor match. The two would undergo both living kidney donor and kidney transplant operations to give Lewis the gift of a new, healthy life.

Success With a Robotic-Assisted Living Donor Kidney Transplant

Dr. Levy explains, “The Lewis family exemplifies how robotic surgery can be used in all aspects of a living donor transplant. We were able to remove Mrs. Lewis’ kidney and transplant it into Mr. Lewis using the assistance of two different robots.”

Guiding and manipulating the robots during surgery, Hume-Lee surgeons perform the surgery with the added precision and guidance of the advanced robotic technology in the operating room. 

He adds that the advantages of robotic-assisted surgery are that it can reduce incisions and lead to a quicker recovery. 

In the Lewis’s case, both Lionel and Jasmine experienced a near full recovery in just weeks.

“There are several benefits to robotic surgery in transplants. In addition to quicker healing for the patient, it also gives us a great depth of field and improved vision during the procedure. The robot lets you be very precise with instruments, placing sutures and connecting blood vessels when you do a kidney transplant,” Dr. Levy adds.

At the VCU Health Hume-Lee Transplant Center, the driver is patient safety and good results.

Dr. Levy concludes, “If we can have a safer or as safe operation with good or better results using new technology, that’s the test we apply.”