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Adult Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Services

Click here to read the whole story University Health System Liver Transplant Program: Since its inception in 1992, the Liver Transplant program at University Health System has performed over 1100 cadaveric, split liver, and living-donor liver transplants. Supported by a superb full-time multidisciplinary staff that includes 6 liver transplant surgeons and two transplant hepatologists, this program boasts superb patient outcomes and offers our GI fellows an excellent opportunity to gain in-depth experience in this crucial area of Hepatology practice.

Patients are followed regularly by the Transplant Hepatology service at the modern J. Kent Trinkle Center for Transplant Sciences. This center serves as a dedicated facility for the care of solid organ transplant recipients and consists of a 12-bed intensive care unit, a 17-bed step-down unit, an outpatient clinic and a pharmacy. All GI fellows participate in the evaluation and treatment of patients with end-stage liver failure as well as in the perioperative and long-term postoperative management of patients with liver transplantation.

Liver transplantation or hepatic transplantation is the replacement of a diseased liver with a healthy liver allograft. The most commonly used technique is orthotopic transplantation, in which the native liver is removed and the donor organ is the same anatomic location as the original liver. Liver transplantation nowadays is a well accepted treatment option for end-stage liver disease and acute liver failure. It is also one of the most expensive treatments in modern medicine.

Prognosis is quite good. However, those with certain illnesses may differ. There is no exact model to predict survival rates; however, those with transplant have a 58% chance of surviving 15 years. Failure from the new liver occurs in 10% to 15% of all cases. These percentages are contributed to by many complications. Early graft failure is probably due to preexisting disease of the donated organ. Others include technical flaws during surgery such as revascularization that may lead to a nonfunctioning graft.


UT Pancreatic Center - San Antonio A pancreas transplant is an organ transplant that involves implanting a healthy pancreas (one that can produce insulin) into a person who usually has diabetes. Because the pancreas is a vital organ, performing functions necessary in the digestion process, the recipient's native pancreas is left in place, and the donated pancreas is attached in a different location. In the event of rejection of the new pancreas which would quickly cause life-threatening diabetes, the recipient could not survive without the native pancreas still in place. The healthy pancreas comes from a donor who has just died or it may be a partial pancreas from a living donor. At present, pancreas transplants are usually performed in persons with insulin-dependent diabetes, who have severe complications that are usually of a renal nature.

Patients with pancreatic cancer are not eligible for valuable pancreatic transplantations, since the condition has a very high mortality rate and the disease, being highly malignant, could and probably would soon return.


For more information, please call 210-567-5777.

Our Physicians

Glenn A. Halff, MD, Professor of Surgery
Dielmann Chair, Transplant Center
Director, UT Transplant Center, UT School of Medicine San Antonio
Phone: 210-567-5777 | Email | More about Dr. Halff
Board certifications: Surgical Critical Care and General Surgery
Clinical interests: adult and pediatric liver and kidney transplants, adult to adult
living liver transplants; liver, biliary, pancreas surgeries


Greg Abrahamian, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery
Director of Renal Transplantation
Phone: 210-567-5777 | Email | More about Dr. Abrahamian
Board certifications: American Board of Surgery
Clinical interests: adult and pediatric kidney and liver transplant surgery


Jose Luis Almeda, MD, Assistant Professor
Surgical Director, Pediatric Transplant Program
Phone: 210-452-2398 | Email | More about Dr. Almeda
Board certifications: American Board of Surgery and American Society of Transplant Surgeons for Liver and Kidney Transplantation
Clinical interests: transplantation; complex pediatric diseases of the liver and pancreas such as tumors and chronic pancreatitis


Robert Esterl, MD, Professor
Interim Associate Dean for Student Affairs
Phone: 210-567-5777 | Email | More about Dr. Esterl
Board certifications: American Board of Surgery
Clinical interests: kidney and pancreas transplantation


Vincent Speeg, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine
Medical Director, Adult Liver Transplantation
Phone: 210-567-5777 | Email | More about Dr. Speeg
Board certifications: Diplomat, National Board of Medical Examiners and American Board of Internal Medicine
Clinical interests: liver disease, drug metabolism and drug-drug interactions


Ken Washburn, MD, Professor of Surgery
Surgical Director, University Hospital Liver Transplant Program
Phone: 210-567-5777 | Email | More about Dr. Washburn
Board certifications: American Board of Surgery
Clinical interests: adult and pediatric liver and kidney transplants; hepatobiliary surgery


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