We have developed a donor operation that incorporates en bloc removal of the liver and intestine with a limited surgical resection in vivo. Over the past 18 months, we have used the following technique for the retrieval and preparation of seven isolated small intestinal allografts. The donor operation and bench preparation can be divided into three phases. During the first phase, the small intestine is removed with the liver, pancreas, and an aortic segment. In the second phase performed ex vivo, the donor liver can be separated from the specimen. The third phase involves additional bench dissection to yield an isolated intestinal allograft. The principle advantage of this technique is that it reduces potential liver injury by minimizing the surgical dissection required in vivo. Also, dividing the liver from the intestine ex vivo allows the organs to be separated in a bloodless field under controlled conditions that may be especially important when two different surgical teams are involved.
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