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King Faisal Specialist and Research Centre achieves world-first fully robotic liver transplant

The approach reduces recovery times and lowers rates of complications.

The Organ Transplant Center of Excellence (OTCoE) team at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre (KFSH&RC) has announced that it has successfully performed the world’s first fully robotic liver transplant.

The medical milestone marks KFSH&RC’s, a tertiary and quaternary healthcare provider in the Middle East, position as a global leader in minimally invasive transplant surgery.

In Saudi Arabia, a 66-year-old Saudi man underwent a transplant after suffering from an aggressive form of fatty liver disease called non-alcoholic liver cirrhosis (NASH) and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common type of liver disease.

The man was discharged on the 6 September following the successful delivery of the procedure.

To conduct donor and recipient surgeries, KFSH&RC used state-of-the-art technology to eliminate the need for a hybrid approach, as it was precise and the least invasive option.

The approach, which was adopted by the OTCoE, aims to provide patients with smaller incisions, reduced recovery times and significantly lower rates of complications such as infections and surgical issues.

Traditional liver transplantation usually involves major incisions, which can lead to prolonged hospital stays and patient discomfort. These surgeries can also result in complications in up to 50% of cases.

Dr Dieter Broering, executive director of the OTCoE at KFSH&RC, said: “With this remarkable feat, we at KFSH&RC reaffirm our commitment to pushing the boundaries of medical innovation and enhancing the quality of healthcare services offered to patients worldwide.

“The successful implementation of fully robotic liver transplants marks a pivotal moment in the history of organ transplantation and firmly positions KFSH&RC as a world-leading centre in this field.”

Now recognised as a designated training centre for robotic transplant surgery, KFSH&RC collaborates with other medical institutions, fostering knowledge exchange and aiming to advance the understanding of minimally invasive transplant procedures globally.

In August this year, KFSH&RC performed a surgery using advanced robotic technology to implant electrodes into the brain of a patient with refractory epilepsy. It was the first procedure ever to be performed in the Middle East using robotic assistance to identify epilepsy foci.