University of Minnesota Health surgeons have performed more than 1,400 liver transplants since the program began in 1969. The University of Minnesota Solid Organ Transplant Program has a long legacy of excellence in training doctors around the world in transplantation and in providing expert care to liver transplant patients.
We have pioneered many new approaches to transplantation through the years. In 1981, we were the first in the Midwest to perform a combined liver-kidney transplant. In 1990, we performed a liver-pancreas transplant, and in 1996, we performed the first combined liver-intestine transplant. In 1997, we began performing adult-to-child, living donor partial-liver transplants, which later expanded to include adult-to-adult living donor liver transplantation.
Today, more than 18,000 patients, including children, in the United States are waiting for a new liver. As new surgical techniques and better immunosuppressant drugs are developed, more patients with liver disease have become eligible for a transplant, but the number of deceased donors cannot keep up with that demand. In some of these cases, the best option for transplantation is with a living donor. We have been performing this procedure since 1997.
Our pioneering research has dramatically improved survival rates and post-transplant quality of life. We have research underway on artificial liver support devices, hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer), split-liver transplantation (a process where two recipients are provided with liver from one donor) and living-donor liver transplantation. Through participation in our clinical trials, our patients have access to the latest therapies in development.