Rainer Gruessner : Groundbreaking Contributions to the Medical Field

For Rainer Gruessner, giving children another chance at life is a primary motivation for his development of groundbreaking contributions to the medical field. One of these contributions includes successful bowel transplantation in pediatric patients.

In 1998, Dr. Gruessner transplanted six feet of small bowel from a father to his son. The 16-year old boy had lost all of his small bowel as a result of a car accident two years prior. At the time of the accident, the teenage patient was unable to digest food properly, forcing him to receive intravenous feeding or total parenteral nutrition (TPN). This caused him to lose over 80 pounds. Another complication suffered by the patient was liver dysfunction, which resulted in increasing liver enzymes. Dr. Gruessner was able to restore the patient’s liver and bowel function with the transplant of the father’s intestine. This case was the first incident of a father-to-son transplant using a standardized technique.