They were only 4 centimeters (1.57 inches) long, but surgeons in China nevertheless managed to transplant the kidneys of a two-day-old baby into a nine-year-old girl dying of chronic renal failure.
The procedure was performed recently in the Second Xiagya Hospital of Central South University in Changsha.
This teaching hospital, in central China’s Hunan Province, is big on transplants, even teeny tiny ones.
The kidney recipient, identified by the Chinese news agency Xinhau under the pseudonym Huang Jing, had kidney disease since she was a toddler, and her development was affected. Her new kidneys will, all being well, continue to grow for several months until they reach ‘normal’ size for her age.
After the surgery, ‘Huang’ said, “I am very happy and [I] want to go to school,” the news agency reported recently.
It went on to quote the head of the hospital’s transplant surgery team, Peng Longkai, that kidney transplants for young patients are a challenge due to the complexity of the operation and the tiny blood vessels involved.
The donor in this case died from anoxic encephalopathy, neonatal asphyxia and lung infection, and her parents decided to donate her kidneys to “let her stay in the world in another way.”