World Recognized Superior Care

The Intestinal Rehabilitation and Transplant Center at the University of Illinois Hospital is prominently recognized as one of only a handful of comprehensive intestinal rehabilitation and transplant centers in the western hemisphere. Our physicians are on the forefront of establishing the standard of care for patients with intestinal failure, and patients that may require intestinal transplant.

Our clinicians are international leaders in the refinement of technique for dietary, medical, and surgical management of patients with intestinal failure; have lectured worldwide; and have published their discoveries and recommendations in leading scientific journals.

The Intestinal Rehabilitation and Transplant Center optimizes existing clinical strategies, while developing new approaches through clinical and basic scientific research. Our multidisciplinary, integrated approach combines; medical (including hormonal therapy), surgical (including gut-lengthening/tapering procedures), lifestyle and nutritional strategies to reduce or eliminate PN dependency and specific instruction on proper catheter care.

At our center patients are provided with a coordinated and seamless individualized plan by a team of gastroenterologists, surgeons, nurses, and dietitians to better define the role and timing of intestinal transplantation due to intestinal failure. PN dependent high-risk patients are closely monitored for the need for intestinal transplantation before the situation becomes irreversible due to severe intestinal failure-associated liver disease (IFALD) or other life-threatening PN-associated complications.

Our surgeons are experienced in a full array of intestine transplant and nontransplant procedures including isolated intestine transplants for patients with short bowel syndrome and no liver disease using deceased donors and living donors, and intestine-liver transplants for those patients who have developed irreversible liver disease. The University of Illinois Hospital also has the most experience worldwide in living donor intestinal transplants.

Non-Transplant Intestinal Surgery Offered to Improve Intestinal Absorption

  • Serial Transverse Enteroplasty (STEP)
  • Surgical management of complex fistula disease
Transplant Surgery Offered

  • Isolated intestinal transplant (For patients with intestinal and no or limited/reversible liver disease.)
  • Combined liver-intestine transplant (For patients with intestinal and irreversible PN-induced liver disease.)

History of Leadership

Our physicians have developed the national guidelines to treat patients with short bowel syndrome and have pioneered the development of new medical therapies for intestinal failure including clonidine to treat diarrhea, choline to treat intestinal failure-associated liver disease, and teduglutide to improve nutrient and fluid absorption and decrease dependence on PN.

At the University of Illinois Hospital Transplant Center, our doctors and researchers pioneered some of the first major organ transplants in Illinois and the world. Enrico Benedetti, MD performed the first adult living donor bowel transplant in Illinois in 1998. Since then many innovations have been introduced in the field of small bowel transplantation by our team, including:

First adult living donor bowel transplant in Illinois2004
First liver and small bowel transplant from same living donor into same recipient worldwide
First combined living donor liver-bowel transplant in the worldLargest living donor intestinal program worldwide

One of the two programs worldwide offering living donors for the same abdominal organs: kidney liver, pancreas, intestine, combined liver/bowel, combined kidney/pancreas

Recent improvements in immunosuppressant agents make small bowel transplantation a more feasible option for patients with irreversible, end-stage intestinal failure for whom all conventional treatments have failed. In 1998, University of Illinois Hospital surgeons performed a successful segmental bowel transplant from living-related donor, one of the first such procedures in the world and the first in Illinois. The procedure was performed between HLA-identical sibling and both donor and recipient recovered rapidly with no complications.

Successful bowel transplantation provides for lower morbidity and overall cost when compared to the impact of chronic, end-stage bowel disease. For appropriate candidates, small bowel transplantation can replace total parenteral nutrition (PN), which is associated with serious and expensive complications such as catheter-related thrombosis, severe infections, and liver failure.