What is Intestine?
Small Intestines are long continuous tubes running between the stomach and large intestines and are a part of gastrointestinal tract. These are the part of the body where absorption of what we eat and drink takes place. These are around 20 feet in length in grown adults. Small intestines possess 1 inch of diameter. Small intestines consist of three parts – duodenum, jejunum, and ileum. All these three parts work together to ensure absorption of nutrients and minerals from our intake.
When is Intestine Transplant Required?
The intestine is a sensitive organ and can be considered for transplantation in case of failure due to one or the other reasons. The major grounds for intestinal transplant are the complications developed from Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN) and Short Gut Syndrome.
Short Gut Syndrome or Short Bowel Syndrome – Short Gut Syndrome is referred to the inability of the small intestine to absorb nutrients and minerals from food because of the small length of the small intestine. In this syndrome, a significant portion of the small intestine is either missing or damaged.
Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN) – TPN refers to when a person is provided nutrition in liquid form through a catheter inserted into his or her vein in chest, arm, neck or groin. Long-term TPN leads to certain complications that may further necessitate the intestine transplant.
Intestine transplant is a complex medical procedure. By far, surgical process is the only treatment technique available for the transplantation of intestine. Different surgical processes to transplant intestine are given below –
Isolated intestinal (Small Bowel) Transplantation – In this transplantation, the diseased part of the small intestine is separated and is replaced by a healthy intestine from the donor. This technique is used when the only small intestine is diseased, liver being fit and fine.
Combined Liver and Intestinal Transplantation – This surgical technique is used for patients who need both liver and intestine transplant. Mostly, long-term TPN results in liver failure, and hence surgery involves replacement of both liver and small intestine with healthy organs.
Multivisceral Transplantation – This technique of intestinal transplant is used when more than one organ of the gastrointestinal tract need a transplant. The various organs that can be transplanted along with intestine in this technique include liver, stomach, and pancreas.
The intestine transplant can be achieved through any of the above-discussed transplant techniques. Depending upon the current medical situation of the patient, doctors follow the best approach.
Although intestine transplant is a complex procedure but it comes with a lot of advantages over other methods to treat intestine failure. Some of the major advantages are listed below –
The Patient is immediately taken to Intensive Care Unit (ICU) after the surgical procedure. The patient is actively monitored, and all medical parameters are measured frequently. Patient’s immune system is actively suppressed with the help of immunosuppressant drugs in order to avoid rejection.
Regular follow-up is required for six months after Intestine Transplant by patients so as to ensure easy, quick and proper recovery.