Intestinal Transplant

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Procedure Description

An intestinal transplant is a complex, high-risk surgical procedure aimed at replacing a damaged or dysfunctional intestine with a healthy one from a donor. The procedure is usually considered a last-resort treatment option for patients who have severe intestinal failure and are unable to absorb the necessary nutrients or fluids for survival. Intestinal failure can be caused by a variety of conditions, including Crohn’s disease, short bowel syndrome, or irreversible bowel obstructions, among others.

In most cases, intestinal transplants are recommended only after more conservative treatment options have failed. The treatment protocol typically involves various evaluations to assess whether the patient is a suitable candidate for transplantation. This involves analyzing the patient's overall health, nutritional status, psychological preparedness, and other factors that might influence the surgery’s outcome. Pre-operative preparations can take months and require the patient to follow strict dietary and medication guidelines.

Intestinal transplantation can involve different approaches: isolated intestinal transplant, combined liver-intestine transplant, or multivisceral transplant. The choice of approach depends on the specific medical conditions and needs of the patient. Post-transplant, patients must be committed to a lifetime of medication and medical follow-ups to ensure that the new organ is functioning properly and to monitor for signs of organ rejection.

Procedure Duration

An intestinal transplant is a prolonged surgical procedure that can take anywhere from 4 to 12 hours, depending on the complexity of the case and the specific type of transplant being performed. Surgeons will remove the damaged portion of the intestine and connect the healthy donor intestine in its place. The complexity of the surgery also depends on whether other organs, like the liver or pancreas, are being transplanted simultaneously.

The initial recovery period typically occurs in an intensive care unit (ICU) and can last for several days to a few weeks. During this period, patients are closely monitored for complications such as organ rejection, infection, or bleeding. After being discharged from the ICU, an extended hospital stay of several more weeks is usually required for continued monitoring and adjustment of medications.

The overall recovery time varies from patient to patient but generally involves several months of close follow-up. Patients must adhere to a stringent regimen of immunosuppressant drugs to prevent organ rejection and will require frequent medical evaluations to monitor for long-term complications.


  • Cost-Effectiveness: Medical procedures abroad can be significantly cheaper, making high-cost surgeries like intestinal transplants more accessible.
  • Expertise: Some countries are renowned for their specialized medical teams who have extensive experience in intestinal transplants.
  • Advanced Technology: Many hospitals abroad are equipped with state-of-the-art technology and facilities that may not be readily available in the patient's home country.

Potential Destinations

  • India: Known for its skilled surgeons and cutting-edge medical technology.
  • Germany: Renowned for its research in organ transplantation.
  • United States: Home to some of the world’s leading medical facilities and research institutions.
  • South Korea: Offers a blend of modern technology and skilled healthcare professionals.

Risks & Considerations

  • Travel Limitations: Due to the complexity of the surgery, immediate travel post-operation is not advisable.
  • Cultural and Language Barriers: Communication may be challenging, so it's essential to consider this when choosing a destination.
  • Local Medical Practices: Each country has its medical guidelines and standards, which can be different from what you're used to.

How to Choose the Right Doctor and Hospital

  • Accreditation: Always check for international healthcare accreditation to ensure that the facility meets global standards.
  • Doctor’s Credentials: Look for surgeons who have specialized training and considerable experience in intestinal transplants.
  • Patient Testimonials: Reading reviews or speaking to former patients can give you an idea of the level of care you can expect.

To receive a free quote for this procedure please click on the link:

Patients are advised to seek hospitals that are accredited by Global Healthcare and only work with medical tourism facilitators who are certified by Global Healthcare Accreditation or who have undergone certification from the Certified Medical Travel Professionals (CMTP). This ensures that the highest standards in the industry are met. GHA accredits the top hospitals in the world. These are the best hospitals in the world for quality and providing the best patient experience. Click the link to check out hospitals accredited by the Global Healthcare Accreditation:

Frequently Asked Questions

What actually happens during hyperstimulation of the ovaries?

The patient will take injectable FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) for eight to eleven days, depending on how long the follicles take to mature. This hormone is produced naturally in a woman’s body causing one egg to develop per cycle. Taking the injectable FSH causes several follicles to develop at once, at approximately the same rate. The development is monitored with vaginal ultrasounds and following the patient’s levels of estradiol and progesterone. FSH brand names include Repronex, Follistim, Menopur, Gonal-F and Bravelle. The patient injects herself daily.

What happens during egg retrieval?

When the follicles have developed enough to be harvested, the patient attends an appointment  where she is anesthetized and prepared for the procedure. Next, the doctor uses an ultrasound probe to guide a needle through the vaginal wall and into the follicle of the ovary. The thin needle draws the follicle fluid, which is then examined by an embryologist to find the eggs. The whole process takes about 20 minutes.

What happens to the eggs?

In the next step, the harvested eggs are then fertilized. If the sperm from the potential father, or in some cases, anonymous donor, has normal functionality, the eggs and sperm are placed together in a dish with a nutrient fluid, then incubated overnight to fertilize normally. If the sperm functionality is suboptimal, an embryologist uses Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection to inject a single sperm into a single egg with an extremely precise glass needle.  Once fertilization is complete, the embryos are assessed and prepared to be transferred to the patient’s uterus.

How are the embryos transferred back to the uterus?

The doctor and the patient will discuss the number of embryos to be transferred. The number of successfully fertilized eggs usually determines the number of eggs to be placed in the uterus. Embryos are transferred to the uterus with transabdominal ultrasound guidance. This process does not require anesthesia, but it can cause minor cervical or uterine discomfort. Following transfer, the patient is advised to take at least one days bed rest and two or three additional days of rest, then 10 to 12 days later, two pregnancy tests are scheduled to confirm success. Once two positive tests are completed, an obstetrical ultrasound is ordered to show the sac, fetal pole, yolk sac and fetal heart rate.


Built into this technology there is a microscope with a powerful camera that allows the uninterrupted monitoring of the embryo during its first hours of life. In this way, we can keep a close eye on the embryo, from the moment when the oocyte is inseminated and begins to divide into smaller and smaller cells, until it can be transferred to the uterus.

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