On the 6th of March, I along with the fellows of Queen’s Economist attended a lecture by professor Nizam Mamode. The topic, on transplant surgery. The lecture was immediately engaging, professor Nizam mentioned that being a surgeon required for you to be extremely clinical, and your job would make a difference to people’s lives. Professor Nizam began with how people that had damaged kidneys required a dialysis machine to filter a patient’s blood to remove excess water and waste products. He also stated that the dialysis machine itself was very restraining, with a patient on haemodialysis only allowed 750ml of water a day, in comparison, the average person has 2-3 litres every day.
Swiftly professor Nizam move onto ethical dilemmas with transplant surgery. Many people that donate their kidneys will never meet the person that they donate it to, and they cannot sell their organs to the highest bidder. Professor Nizam also questioned us as to whether an operation that had 20% chance of death, would be done by a doctor in the UK, there were various mixed responses, but professor Nizam told us that there was no place in the UK that would undergo this procedure. As the lecture continued, we began to learn that basic immunology was the basis of transplant surgery, and that many experiments to improve the art of transplant surgery are going on at this moment. Ex vivo normothermic perfusion is currently being tested, and is the method of pumping a kidney with warm blood, whilst the ureter is producing urine, all in order to keep the kidney alive. Paediatric transplantation and pancreas transplantation images were shown, and how they can help solve the insulin problem in diabetics. Professor Nizam then questioned us how young can one be to receive a transplant, the answer was 1. This puts into prospective how far transplant surgery has come, that the procedure can be carried out on such a young human.
Then professor Nizam moved onto the technological advancements in transplant surgery, with 3D printing of a donor kidney and its blood vessels, before it was transplanted. The printing allowed the doctors to plan as to how they would carry out the transplant, and make the incisions accordingly. In partnership with Bristol, robot assisted transplant surgery is being made possible. Despite the expensive cost right now, professor Nizam told us that with advancements, the price of the robots is decreasing, and their convenience is increasing.
To conclude, the professor emphasized, the hard work that is put in transplant surgery, and that team work can play a large part in the success of it. Professor Nizam ended with a q&a session. The lecture was very interesting as it unlocked just a small area in the act of surgery, and the insight was invaluable. Professor Nizam also advised future Nobel winners, to research methods of measuring immunosuppressant’s, and the tolerance of the body in accordance to it.