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Patient remains awake during surgery, watches his own kidney transplant, says it was ‘pretty cool’

Going under the knife is a scary experience for many, and people tend to avoid it at any cost.  However, a man from Chicago underwent an organ transplant while he was fully awake.

Patient remains awake during surgery watches his own kidney transplant says it was pretty cool gcw
First Published Jun 26, 2024, 10:49 AM IST

A 28-year-old Chicago resident underwent a kidney transplant in a novel method in which he remained conscious for the whole process. On May 24, John Nicholas had a successful procedure at Northwestern Medicine.

After the surgery, Nicholas said he felt no discomfort, and he was allowed to leave the hospital just 24 hours later. This indicates a noteworthy decrease in the average length of hospital stays for kidney transplant recipients, which can vary from two to three days at Northwestern to an average of seven days nationwide.

The use of a spinal anesthetic—similar to that used during caesarean sections—instead of general esthesia was crucial to the minimally invasive procedure. In a news release, transplant surgeon Dr. Satish Nadig said that keeping Nicholas conscious made it possible to do the procedure as an outpatient.

The procedure, which took less than two hours, was carried out by Dr. Nadig, transplant surgeon Vinayak Rohan, MD, of Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and anesthesiologist Vicente Garcia Tomas, MD, who is chief of acute pain management and regional anaesthesia at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. The patient received a type of anaesthesia that's similar to what's used during a caesarean section.

Nicholas didn't have any risks or phobias about general anaesthesia but was a great candidate for the procedure due to his age, limited risk factors, and his eagerness to participate in a medical first for Northwestern Medicine.

After a successful surgery on May 24, Nicholas was discharged the next day and walked out of the hospital on May 25. Patients undergoing kidney transplants at Northwestern Memorial Hospital usually stay in the hospital for two to three days on average.

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