December 8, 2000
Volume XXXIII, No. 39

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UTHSC surgeons perform 100th liver transplant of year


Drs. Robert Esterl (left) and Francisco Cigarroa participate in the 100th liver transplant performed by UTHSC surgeons at University Hospital this year. Dr. Cigarroa is among the few university presidents to have performed transplant surgery while serving as president.

UTHSC faculty surgeons—including Dr. Francisco G. Cigarroa, president—have performed the center’s one-hundredth liver transplant of 2000. The nine-hour procedure took place Dec. 2 at University Hospital and involved splitting a donor liver for transplant into a 1-year-old boy and a 61-year-old woman, both from the San Antonio area.

Nationwide, the Health Science Center is one of only seven institutions where surgeons have performed 100 liver transplants in a single year.

Drs. Cigarroa, Glenn Halff and Robert Esterl headed the surgical team. The milestone firmly establishes the Health Science Center’s liver transplant program as one of the busiest in the world.

Dr. Halff, director of organ transplantation programs in the department of surgery, discussed the case at a Dec. 5 press briefing. The pediatric recipient celebrated his first birthday on Dec. 7.

The liver is made up of eight segments, each with blood vessels supporting separate bile ducts. Because of this unique construction, the organ can be segmented without harming its function. Because the organ has regenerative capability, the transplanted segments can grow into whole livers.

Dr. Cigarroa is one of the first academic health science center presidents to participate in a transplant surgery while serving as president. Before his appointment in October, Dr. Cigarroa was director of pediatric surgery and director of abdominal organ transplantation at the Health Science Center.

Dr. Halff was recruited to the department of surgery in 1992 to begin the university’s liver transplantation program.