Dr. Ajai Khanna is a leading transplant surgeon and researcher who specializes in multi-organ transplantation, liver and small bowel transplantation in children, and pancreas transplantation. As Director of Pediatric Transplantation and Surgical Director of Transplantation Research, he performs complex and innovative transplant surgeries for young patients, such as the living related liver transplant in which a child receives part of a parent’s liver to replace the child’s own diseased liver. Dr. Khanna is certified in Multiorgan Transplantation by the American Society for Transplant Surgeons. He is also certified in General Surgery by the Royal College of Surgeons of England and the Specialist Training Authority of the General Medical Council of the United Kingdom.
Dr. Khanna was the first surgeon in the world to perform “domino” liver transplantation in a patient with Maple Syrup Urine Disease and a patient with liver cancer. In “domino” liver transplantation, a patient donates his or her liver to another patient, and then receives a donor liver. In certain medical situations, this “domino” procedure can make it possible to provide new livers to two individuals who would not otherwise be able to receive liver transplants. In this case, the MSUD patient could not use his own liver because of a unique metabolic problem, but he could use a healthy liver from a donor, and his liver would function normally in another person.
Dr. Khanna was also the first surgeon in San Diego to perform multi-visceral transplantation and also the first to perform live donor liver transplantation in San Diego. Dr. Khanna starrted and established the Pediatric Abdominal Transplant Program at the University of California, San Diego and Children’s Hospital and Health Center.
In addition to his surgical and specialty training, Dr. Khanna has advanced fellowship training in general surgery, multi-organ transplant surgery, multi-organ pediatric abdominal transplantation, and transplant immunology.
In his patient care and teaching activities, Dr. Khanna works closely with the specialists in transplant surgery, general surgery, hepatology, nephrology, critical care, pediatrics, pediatric gastroenterology and pediatric nephrology. He is a member of the Moores UC San Diego Cancer Center, where he provides specialized surgical care for patients with liver cancers.
Dr. Khanna is active in training new specialists in transplantation at UC San Diego. He heads the Department of Surgery’s fellowship training program in multi-organ transplant surgery, and has mentored and trained transplantation surgeons from around the world.
Dr. Khanna devotes his research to developing methods for improving the success and safety of organ transplants. He is recognized for his research on artificial liver and bone marrow augmentation of organ tolerance. His current studies include investigations of anti-rejection drugs and the prevention of reinfection in hepatitis B-related transplants. He is involved in a number of clinical trials, including a study of split liver transplantation to improve organ viability in children.
Dr. Khanna speaks both English and Hindi.