Media Advisory

For Immediate Release:

June 5, 2019

Media Contact:

Tania Leets



World’s First: Breakthrough 4K/3D Medical Technology Used During Liver Transplant Surgery on 8-pound Baby


Rodrigo Vianna, MD, director, Miami Transplant Institute and UHealth chief of liver,
intestinal, and multivisceral transplant
Akin Tekin, MD, UHealth liver, intestinal and multivisceral surgeon
Thiago Beduschi, MD, UHealth surgical director, living donor liver program
Gennaro Selvaggi, MD, FACS, UHealth transplant surgeon
Jennifer Garcia, MD, UHealth medical director of pediatric transplant services at MTI
Michael Angelo, patient
Jill Angelo, mother
David Angelo, father


Just months after being born in September 2018, Michael David Antonio Angelo was diagnosed with biliary atresia, a rare, genetic, life-threatening liver disease that only appears in infants. His only chance at survival: a liver transplant.

Although Michael lived in St. Petersburg, Fla., his parents decided the best place to help their son was the Miami Transplant Institute (MTI), a joint program between Jackson Health System and UHealth – the University of Miami Health System.

“Our lives from then on flipped upside down,” said Jill Angelo. “I had to drop my job and leave our five-year-old daughter with my mother. There were a lot of unknowns, it was terrible.”

On January 14, Michael was airlifted from St. Petersburg to Holtz Children’s Hospital at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center, where he began his care with the MTI team.

“All I kept thinking was that my four-month-old son was on a helicopter that we had to follow by car,” said Angelo. “It was a living nightmare that is best explained as having an out-of-body experience.”

Michael was placed on the national transplant list and in two weeks, his parents received a call that a compatible liver was available. The only challenge was Michael’s weight: 8 pounds, 8 ounces.

In the past, the Miami Transplant Institute had only performed surgeries on babies weighing more than 13 pounds, two ounces. Operating on Michael was a risk.

But two innovative medical technologies used simultaneously would help them with this challenging case: the Thunderbeat (Hybrid Vessel Sealing Device) and ORBEYE (4K/3D Surgical Visualization) by Olympus. The Thunderbeat is the world’s only fully-integrated bipolar and ultrasonic technology. The ORBEYE, which provides image magnification up to 26 times with a 4k/3D 55-inch monitor, had never been used in transplantation; it is – typically used for neurosurgery. Surgeons must wear 3D goggles to view the screens allowing transplant surgeons to visualize precise instrument placement.
On February 28, Michael received his lifesaving liver transplant at Holtz Children’s, becoming the first organ transplant patient in the world to undergo this clinical trial, using this dual-technological approach.

The successful surgery was done by a multidisciplinary team, led by UHealth transplant surgeon Rodrigo Vianna, MD, director, Miami Transplant Institute and chief of liver, intestinal, and multivisceral transplant; Akin Tekin, MD, UHealth’s liver, intestinal and multivisceral surgeon; Thiago Beduschi, MD, UHealth surgical director, living donor liver program; and Gennaro Selvaggi, MD, FACS, UHealth transplant surgeon.

“Jackson miracles happen daily so I was hopeful that my son was part of it,” said his mother, Jill Angelo. “I came to learn about the technology used after, and it’s incredible what this medical team was able to accomplish to save my baby’s life.”

Michael remained in the pediatric intensive care unit for some time postoperatively, and was recently discharged, but continues to be monitored during weekly checkups. Michael is now a healthy 9-month-old baby, and will soon be returning home to St. Petersburg for the first time since January.

“He got his second chance at life because of the team that I met of doctors, residents, fellows, surgeons, nurses – everyone had a place in my son’s journey,” his mother said. “He’s complete happiness – I love this boy so much. I am in awe of such a little child who is resilient and smiley.”

During a press conference at Jackson Memorial Hospital on Thursday, June 6, the parents will share their child’s story of survival, and thank Michael’s medical team for combining their expertise with the latest revolutionary scientific devices to save his life.


Thursday, June 6, 2019, 11 a.m.


Jackson Memorial Hospital
Ira Clark Diagnostic Treatment Center, Room 259
The corner of N.W. 12th Avenue and 19th Street
Miami, FL 33136

Editor's Note:

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Jackson Health System

1611 N.W. 12th Avenue Miami, FL 33136