Combined kidney and pancreas transplants through lower transverse abdominal incisions

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Improvements in the surgical aspects of combined kidney and pancreas transplants have resulted in better overall graft and patient survival. Pancreas transplants were initially performed through lower transplant flank incisions opposite the kidney. However, because of high wound complication rate, most centers now perform pancreas transplants through lower midline incisions. We retrospectively reviewed our experience in 40 combined kidney and pancreas transplant recipients with an initial group of 6 midline incisions and 34 later lower transverse abdominal incisions. The number of midline incisions was too small to make a direct comparison, but our series of patients with transverse incisions was compared with the reported literature using a midline incision. The overall infectious and hernia rates for the transverse incision were 12% and 6% respectively which are both very acceptable. The average operative time was 5.5 h. The transverse incision may be associated with less pain, shorter ileus, and fewer pulmonary complications. A lower transverse incision has the major advantage of excellent exposure directly over the iliac vessels and is our incision of choice.

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