Penn Medicine has been a leader in transfusion-free or bloodless medicine for almost two decades, recognizing that blood transfusion alternatives provide multiple benefits to patients.

stock photo of doctors performing surgery

At Penn Medicine, we understand the importance of providing exceptional health care without compromising personal, cultural or religious beliefs. As such, we offer bloodless medicine, a type of medical practice that uses no blood products or blood transfusions during surgery. 

If you are an international patient seeking bloodless medicine during your surgery, we will work with you prior to any procedure to make sure we meet your expectations. Prior to surgery, there are blood conservation techniques such as medications and nutritional supplements that can help prepare your body for surgery.

Bloodless surgery techniques require specialized training. Our surgeons, anesthesiologists, perfusionists and nurses are highly-skilled in performing bloodless procedures. Penn Medicine's Center for Transfusion-Free Medicine is led by international expert Dr. Patricia Ford, who specializes in bloodless medicine and bloodless surgery. Dr. Ford performed the world's first bloodless stem cell transplant more than 15 years ago and established the bloodless medicine program at Pennsylvania Hospital in 1996, to treat patients who do not wish to accept blood transfusions.

Penn Medicine's Center for Transfusion-Free Medicine offers bloodless medicine and surgical options to patients in almost every medical specialty including:

  • Bariatric (weight-loss) surgery
  • Cancer and chemotherapy management
  • Cardiology and cardiac surgery
  • Gastroenterology
  • General surgery
  • Gynecologic surgery
  • Hematology/Oncology
  • Neurology and neurosurgery
  • Obstetrics/Gynecology
  • Orthopaedics and orthopaedic surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology (ear, nose and throat)
  • Plastic and reconstructive surgery
  • Pulmonary
  • Stem cell transplant
  • Urology
  • Vascular surgery

Advantages of Penn Medicine’s Transfusion-Free Medicine

As a high-volume bloodless medicine center, Penn Medicine's surgeons and specialists routinely perform bloodless medicine and surgical procedures that may be done only occasionally at other locations. Studies have shown that centers performing higher volumes of bloodless procedures have better patient outcomes.

There are many benefits to bloodless medicine. Our patients have seen positive outcomes such as:

  • Faster healing times
  • Faster recovery times
  • Fewer reactions from blood stored for a longer period of time
  • Less chance of infections
  • No risks from receiving the wrong blood in error
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