Rainer Gruessner

Rainer Gruessner: An Internationally Known Surgeon

Rainer Gruessner Saves Children’s Lives

For Rainer Gruessner, giving children another chance at life is a primary motivation for his development of groundbreaking contributions to the medical field. One of these contributions includes successful bowel transplantation in pediatric patients.


In 1998, Dr. Gruessner transplanted six feet of small bowel from a father to his son. The 16-year old boy had lost all of his small bowel as a result of a car accident two years prior. At the time of the accident, the teenage patient was unable to digest food properly, forcing him to receive intravenous feeding or total parenteral nutrition (TPN). This caused him to lose over 80 pounds. Another complication suffered by the patient was liver dysfunction, which resulted in increasing liver enzymes. Dr. Gruessner was able to restore the patient’s liver and bowel function with the transplant of the father’s intestine. This case was the first incident of a father-to-son transplant using a standardized technique.

Rainer Gruessner

Rainer Gruessner

This type of procedure would later help Dr. Gruessner save the life of another child, this time a young two-month-old baby in Arizona suffering from a complete absence of the small bowel at birth. Instead of receiving the bowel from a living donor, Dr. Gruessner instead used three organs of a deceased infant, allowing the young patient to receive a liver and pancreas in addition to the small bowel. This three organ transplant was the first of its kind in Arizona and the Southwestern United States.

Rainer Gruessner

Rainer Gruessner

The patient is no longer on TPN and is capable of digesting food. Her quality of life is markedly improved and she is growing up like a “normal” child. The procedure was just as important to the University Medical Center in Tucson: patients who previously required such transplants were forced to travel to Nebraska or to Miami to receive treatment.

Rainer Gruessner :- http://www.healthgrades.com/physician/dr-rainer-gruessner-3mlnr


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