At Lahey Hospital & Medical Center, we specialize in pancreatic disease, liver and kidney surgery and transplantation. We are the most experienced liver and kidney transplant team in New England, and our physicians use a collaborative approach that has resulted in some of the best outcomes in the country, according to the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients. Our living donor liver transplantation program is the largest and most established in New England.
We have a 60-member interdisciplinary team dedicated solely to liver and kidney transplantation. Our team performs live donor and deceased donor liver and kidney transplantations, including simultaneous liver and kidney transplants. Recognizing the shortage of available organs, we work to maximize the number of available livers and kidneys for transplant via living donor transplantation and paired exchange programs for incompatible donor-recipient pairs. All of our patients receive personalized care before, during and after a transplant.
Our surgeons have vast experience in surgery of the liver, pancreas and bile ducts, as well as shunt operations. We offer both minimally invasive and open approaches to surgeries of the liver, pancreas and bile ducts. We believe in the multidisciplinary management of portal hypertension, liver, pancreas and bile duct diseases, including cancer. We work closely with our gastroenterologists, hepatologists, nephrologists, oncologists and anesthesiologists to ensure the best outcomes for our patients.
Kidney Transplantation at Lahey
The first kidney transplant performed by Lahey surgeons was in 1974, and it was a live donor transplant between siblings. It was performed by members of the Department of Urology at the New England Deaconess Hospital, which served as Lahey’s primary in-patient facility at the time. The Urology group continued to perform living and deceased donor kidney transplants until the Lahey practice relocated to its current clinical facility in Burlington in 1978. Kidney transplants continued to be performed by the Department of Urology with coverage for the medical aspects of transplant care being provided by members of the Department of Nephrology.
Liver Transplantation at Lahey
The liver transplant program also had its roots at the New England Deaconess Hospital, where on July 14, 1983, a team led by Dr. Roger Jenkins performed the first successful liver transplant in New England. It continued its tradition of innovative surgery by performing the first adult-to-adult live donor liver transplant in December 1998. In June of 1999, the entire liver transplant team, including surgeons, hepatologists, nursing and support staff, relocated to Lahey and continued their tradition of leadership in the field. In rapid succession, they added two additional “firsts” for the Department:
- In September 1999, they performed the first combined liver donor/liver-live donor kidney transplant in the world.
- On New Year’s Day 2000, they performed the first “domino” liver transplant in New England.
By 2008, Lahey’s live donor liver transplant program was the largest in the United States.
Department of Transplantation and Hepatobiliary Diseases
In January 2010, transplantation services at Lahey were united in a single department that contained liver and kidney transplant surgeons, hepatobiliary surgeons, transplant hepatologists and transplant nephrologists. This consolidation of transplant expertise in a single location provides our patients with seamless access to the specialists needed to successfully manage their care and allows for easy consultations between providers. The group’s successes continue today. It remains one of the largest U.S. centers for live donor liver transplants and is the most extensive liver transplant program in New England. We recently performed over 100 liver transplants in a single year, the first time that has been accomplished in New England. The kidney program has since doubled in size.
Robotic Transplant, Liver and Pancreas Surgery
In 2017 we began our minimally invasive complex surgery program using robotic surgery. This is a comprehensive program available to selected patients who require surgery for a kidney transplant, living donor liver surgery or surgery for disorders of the liver, pancreas, bile duct and gallbladder. We are the only center in the U.S. performing totally robotic living donor hepatectomy, and the only center in New England performing totally robotic kidney transplants. The goals of this program are to reduce post-operative pain and shorten the time needed for recovery.
Awards and Recognition
What sets us apart:
- Our board-certified physicians have been involved in kidney transplantation since 1970 and have extensive experience in all aspects of the surgical care of transplant patients.
- Our transplant team performed the first successful liver transplant in New England in 1983.
- Our transplant team performed the first successful living donor liver transplant in New England (and 10th in the United States) in 1998.
- Our transplant team started the robotic hepatobiliary and pancreas surgery program in 2017 and has the most extensive program in New England.
- Our transplant team performed the first successful totally robotic living donor hepatectomy in 2018 and is the only center in the U.S. to offer this procedure.
- Our transplant team performed the first successful totally robotic kidney transplantation in 2020 and is the only center in New England to offer this procedure.
- Our team has completed the greatest number of liver transplants in New England over the last three decades.
- We have one of the largest live donor liver transplant programs in the United States.
- Renowned transplant pioneer Roger L. Jenkins, MD, has trained many of our surgeons.
- One out of every 11 live liver transplants in the United States is performed at Lahey.
- Our transplant surgeons and physicians have been on Boston Magazine’s “Best of Boston” list for many years.
- Our kidney transplant program received the Health Resources and Services Administration Silver Medal of Honor for Organ Donation.
Why Choose Us
Over the last decade, we had a very low transplant waitlist mortality rate, despite having some of the sickest patients in the country, because of the excellent care we provide:
We speed up the transplant process by using an innovative approach that leads to a higher probability of patients receiving a kidney transplant and a lower chance of patients dying while waiting for an organ.
Our team also includes experts in innovative radiology that provide three-dimensional organ images and allow for an in-depth analysis of the anatomy, resulting in improved patient outcomes.
We are exclusively focused on end-stage organ disease.
We view families and caregivers of our transplant recipients as part of the Lahey team, too. Our team offers education, encouragement, problem-solving and other support services to patients and their families.
Using a multidisciplinary approach, we offer a complete range of treatment options for liver cancer, including chemotherapy, stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), chemo- and radio-embolization, tumor ablation, open and minimally-invasive liver resection and liver transplantation.