FC Barcelona defender Eric Abidal could return to playing football again following his liver transplant, according to surgeon Juan Carlos Garcia-Valdecasas, who carried out the operation on the player in April. Abidal, 32, had surgery to remove a tumour from his liver last year, but after returning to the pitch, he was forced to undergo a transplant on April 10 with part of an organ donated by his cousin.
The surgeon does not “rule out the possibility that Eric will play again for Barcelona. It’s up to him. I wouldn’t stop him. Time will tell, if Eric responds well, there is no reason why he shouldn’t,” Garcia-Valdecasas said during the program ‘Efectivament’ on Catalan television’s TV3. Garcia-Valdecasas’ statements could not be more encouraging. “The liver is an organ that regenerates in three months. Abidal has to recover little by little, but between three and six months, or up to a year after the intervention, the patient is able to have a normal life,” underlined the doctor. Abidal has to be careful in the first three months, looking after himself and being careful about interactions with other people to protect himself from infection.
According to the surgeon, Abidal “is always in high spirits. He is a very positive character, it is tremendous. He has never complained about anything.”
Garcia-Valdecasas, professor of surgery on the Faculty of Medicine at the Universidad de Barcelona, admitted that Abidal’s life was “endangered” and that there was “a risk”. “His only option was a transplant,” he said. The doctor, the first surgeon to perform a liver transplantation with a living donor in Spain in 2000, explained how he discovered Abidal’s disease. “It was detected a year ago, during a routine examination. At that time he underwent comprehensive analysis, ultrasound, MRI, and it was possible to find new liver problems.”
Regarding the operation on April 10th, Garcia-Valdecasas said that it was “very complex because there are two overlapping interventions (donor and receiver), during any operation there is risk, in this case it was small, but still.” He added that Abi ” entered the operating room at 8 am and left at 11:30 that night. The surgical team onvolved consisted of 30 people.”
Garcia-Valdecasas also had words of praise for Gerard, Abidal’s cousin who donated part of his liver, “about 800 grams.” The surgeon said that “being a donor is a significant risk, even higher than for the receiver. In the world many donors have died,” he added.
Garcia-Valdecasas highlighted the high rate of success in such operations. “For every 100 patients, 95 are alive.” The doctor denied that Abidal had preferential treatment over other patients on the waiting list. “It was transplanted earlier than others because they found a donor.”
Source: ‘Efectivament’ TV3, Picture credit: AP Photo/Manu Fernandez