Doctors here have performed a groundbreaking "flipped liver" transplant on a baby, making her probably the youngest person in the world to undergo the controversial procedure.
Rand Sirucek was eight months old in September when surgeons at Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital took the left part of her father's liver, flipped it, and placed it in the right side of her body.
Such a method has never been used on children here, according to hospitals The Straits Times asked. While the "left lobe in the right" transplant has been recorded in several adults worldwide, it has resulted in rare complications as the liver regenerates.
But Rand, now 10 months old, and her father Cole Sirucek, a 38-year-old American, are doing well, said Dr Jeyaraj Prema Raj.
He is the medical director of the Sing-Kobe Liver Transplant Centre, a collaboration involving doctors from Japan and local medical experts. Dr Tetsuya Kiuchi, another member of the team, said the successful operation may have important implications in the worldwide development of paediatric liver transplants that involve living donors.
The liver comprises two main parts, the bigger right lobe and the left lobe.
A donated liver is usually implanted on the same side it came from to allow for the normal reconstruction of blood vessels and the bile duct.
But Rand's biliary atresia, in which the bile duct between the liver and the small intestine is blocked or absent, had caused several organs on her left side, like the spleen, to enlarge.
That left little room for a transplant there. However, only the left part of her father's liver was suitable for donation. It took a team of 20, including eight doctors, 12 hours to perform the transplant.