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SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

Division of Transplantation

About Our Program

Photo of two surgeons working

The SUNY Downstate Transplant Program was established in 1965 by Dr. Samuel L. Kountz. Dr. Kountz had a vision of transplantation as a life enhancing therapy accessible to all those with end stage kidney disease, a view which continues today. Among the largest and most active programs in the State, the SUNY Downstate Transplant Program has performed more than 3,000 kidney transplants and remains a leader in innovative therapy.

Among its many outstanding accomplishments, SUNY Downstate was the first to perform dual kidney transplants as a means of increasing the number of organs available for transplant at a time when the organ donor shortage has significantly increased the waiting period for organ transplantation. Using this procedure, both kidneys from an older donor are transplanted into a single recipient, thereby expanding the use of kidneys that might not otherwise have been transplanted. The first dual transplant in New York State was done at SUNY Downstate in 1996 and the procedure has been overwhelmingly successful. SUNY Downstate remains the leader in performing this innovative procedure in New York State and the Tri-State area.

Also,SUNY Downstate is among the premier transplant centers performing laparoscopic donor nephrectomies for living donor surgery. Using this technique, surgeons are able to remove the donor's kidney using a laparoscope which requires only a small incision in the lower abdomen of the donor. Laparoscopic surgery results in much less post -operative pain than traditional donor surgeries and results in minimal scarring. The donor is usually discharged from the hospital one to two days after surgery and is usually able to return to work within two to three weeks.

In addition to deceased donor transplantation, the SUNY Downstate Transplant Program has an active living donor transplant program. The division conducts a unique donor education session during which potential donors meet and freely interact with those who have already donated a kidney to a family member. This meeting facilitates open discussion of many issues, especially those of personal concern to donors, and allows potential donors the opportunity to have their non-medical questions answered from the perspective of those who have experienced the procedure first hand.

Patient education is highly emphasized at SUNY Downstate, both pre and post transplant. Patients are encouraged to learn as much as possible about transplantation and both formal and informal teaching sessions are an integral part of the program.

The transplant staff includes board certified transplant surgeons, and a full team of transplant nephrologists. Recipients are housed in a 13 bed dedicated transplant unit staffed by highly trained transplant nurse specialists, social workers, dieticians, and resident house staff. In addition, clinical transplant coordinators and nurse practitioners conduct pre and post transplant teaching and follow up care and remain in close contact with patients and families, both pre and post transplant.

The SUNY Downstate transplant team is proud of its long history of accomplishments and works diligently to maintain the highest standards of care and professionalism. We welcome input from those within the community and are available 24 hours a day to meet the needs of our patients and colleagues.