Consultant Transplant Surgeon Mr Gabriel Oniscu


Mr Gabriel Oniscu is a Consultant Transplant Surgeon at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, and is the Lead Clinician for the Live Donor Programme. He played a major role in transforming the donor operation from open surgery to keyhole surgery, and now Edinburgh is the only unit in the UK which offers laparoscopic single port surgery.
Why did you choose transplant as a speciality? 
I always wanted to be a transplant surgeon. Transforming someone’s life with another person’s gift is a unique aspect of transplant surgery and being able to facilitate this is a great privilege. It is never just another day at the office for me.
Describe your role  
Though I lead the live donation programme, and do the majority of donor operations, I have an active role in liver and pancreas transplantation. I also lead the clinical research looking at ways to improve transplant outcome using novel technologies for organ perfusion and reconditioning.
What have been the most significant advances in transplantation in your view?  
There have been so many and is difficult to single out just one. Keyhole surgery for the donor operation and the paired exchange schemes have certainly revolutionised living donation. The development of novel perfusion technologies to recondition organs is the next “big thing” that will increase access to transplantation.
What are the biggest challenges in your job?  
Being in 3 different places at once! Being a transplant surgeon on call can be very busy, and transplants don’t wait.
What is the most rewarding part of your role?  
Without a doubt seeing a donor and recipient following surgery – it is an amazing gift.
What advice would you give anyone considering donating a kidney?  
Donor safety is our main concern, and we would never want anyone to proceed if they were not sure. Talk about it, ask as many questions as you want, never feel pressurised to continue. Any queries – phone the Transplant Co-ordinators.

Last Reviewed: 11/01/2016