Intestinal Transplant or Bowel Transplant

A small bowel or intestinal transplant is a highly complex, complicated, and advanced surgical procedure where a diseased or shortened small intestine is replaced with a healthy bowel from a living or deceased donor. Small bowel transplant is highly recommended for patients with Short Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and bowel cancer.

Intestinal Transplant or Bowel Transplant

What Are The Conditions That Need Intestinal/Small Bowel Transplant?

An intestinal transplant is primarily for patients with Short Bowel Syndrome complications including:

  • Twisted bowel or volvulus
  • Congenital defect Gastroschisis, where the baby’s bowel develops outside the body
  • Necrotizing Enterocolitis – the death of part of the tissue in the bowel
  • Severe Crohn’s disease or bowel cancer that demands the removal of a section of the bowel

Small bowel transplant is a final life-saving step where Total Parenteral Nutrition, or TPN, is not possible, owing to the failure of the small intestine to absorb the nutrients. 

How Is Small Bowel or Intestinal Transplant Done?

If your doctor feels that an intestinal transplant is the the only way forward to save a life, you will be registered on a waiting list for a donor. When a donor organ is available, certain tests are done to determine the medical compatibility between the donor and the recipient. 

Types of Intestinal Transplant Include

  • Small Bowel Transplant
  • Combined Small Bowel and Liver Transplant
  • Multiple organs or Multivisceral transplant surgery where the stomach, pancreas, liver, pancreas, small bowel, and a part of the duodenum is transplanted

For certain patients, a section of bowel donated by an immediate living family member should suffice the treatment. 

An intestinal transplant is done under general anesthesia, and it may take up to 10 hours. The surgeon will make an incision on the abdominal region, and after removing the diseased bowel, the blood vessels are then connected with the blood vessels of the transplanted intestine. The newly transplanted bowel is then connected to the digestive tract or the small intestine's residual part.


Yes. Your doctor will monitor the functioning of your kidneys and overall health for the next few months to a year.

The patient may have to spend a few weeks in the hospital after intestinal transplantation.

The recipient of an intestinal transplant needs to be on immunosuppressants and other medication for the rest of their life to reduce the risk of infections and rejection of the organ by the body.

Yes. But one should exercise caution and practice healthy eating habits. Refrain from alcohol, smoking, and fatty and spicy foods.

The success rate of a lung transplant is around 90%. It may slip to 70 to 80 percent in highly complicated cases.

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