BALTIMORE -- Surgeons at Johns Hopkins University have removed a donor kidney through a 48-year-old woman's vagina, eliminating the need for an abdominal incision that normally leaves a 5- to 6-inch scar, they said.
The operation, which hospital officials said they believe was the first ever, was performed Jan. 29, and the unidentified Lexington Park donor and her niece, who received the kidney, are both doing well.
Transvaginal kidney removals have been done before to remove cancerous or nonfunctioning kidneys, but not for healthy kidney donation, hospital officials said. Other diseased organs have also been removed through the mouth and other orifices.
The operation left three pea-size scars on the donor's abdomen, one hidden in her navel, and surgeons are hopeful the procedure will prompt more people to become donors.