DALLAS, Texas (KXAN/KXAS) — A Cedar Park teenager, who has dealt with chronic pancreatitis since he was a two-year-old, is hoping for a better life after a rare surgery, according to a story from KXAS-TV in Dallas.
In December, 13-year old Randy Lopez underwent a rare surgery at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas where doctors removed Lopez’s pancreas, then took islet cells, which produce insulin, from his pancreas and transplanted them into his liver.
Pancreatitis is a rare condition that makes eating painful and causes drastic weight loss. In Lopez’s case, it was genetic. Over the years it got progressively worse.
NBC DFW reports that Lopez is the youngest to undergo the procedure. The hospital performs it on fewer than 20 patients a year.
Dr. Ernest Beecherl performed the life-changing surgery.
“This is a little bit different and it’s also an auto-transplantation where you’re giving the patient their own tissue back,” Dr. Beecherl explained to KXAS. “It can take a totally debilitated (patient)…and get them back assimilated into life.”
Dr. Beecherl told the TV station there are side effects to the surgery. It will likely make Lopez a diabetic, but he says it is a manageable condition with a normal life expectancy.
“You’re an awesome guy,” Lopez said of Dr. Beecherl. “Thank you so much for what you’ve done.”
Lopez, his mother, and sister lived at the Ronald McDonald House in Dallas for the last month. Last week, the family returned to their Cedar Park home.