Tomoaki Kato Leads Abdominal Organ Transplantation at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center has appointed Tomoaki Kato, MD, Professor of Surgery, as Chief of the Division of Abdominal Organ Transplantation. Dr. Kato is a renowned expert in liver and intestinal transplantation and complex abdominal surgeries in adults and children.

In addition to the liver transplant program. Dr. Kato leads NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia’s new program for small bowel and multivisceral transplantation. These rarely performed procedures are reserved for patients with complex abdominal pathologies – primarily short gut syndrome and intestinal dysmotility in children, and mesenteric thrombosis and trauma in adults. The intestinal/multivisceral transplantation team includes highly experienced surgeons and a gastroenterologist, nurse practitioner, social worker, psychiatrist, and nutritionist who guide patients through a lengthy and challenging recovery.

In some cases, surgeons perform ex vivo resection, operating on an organ removed from the patient’s body and then returning it to the patient. This was the approach that Dr. Kato and a team of NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia surgeons used to resect 15 pounds of liposarcoma entangling surrounding organs of a 59-year-old man during a highly publicized 43-hour operation in December 2009.

They also performed another well-publicized case in February 2009 in a seven-year-old girl, using an ex vivo approach to take out entire abdominal organs temporarily and remove a deep tumor entangling major blood vessels of the viscera. Ex vivo resections may be applied to various tumors that are unresectable using conventional approaches, including liver and pancreatic tumors and sarcomas.

Since joining NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia in August 2008, Dr. Kato has been leading the institution’s liver transplant program, using both deceased and living donor livers. The center has generated some of the strongest outcomes data in the world. “We have a long history of transplanting high-risk patients effectively with good outcomes,” said Dr. Kato.

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