A medical team from Birmingham has completed a live donor kidney transplant in another country for the first time.
Surgeons and doctors from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Edgbaston, with support nurses and theatre technicians, travelled to Trinidad to perform the operation on three children.
The surgery was performed with clinicians at the medical centre on Trinidad on a 14-year-old girl and her uncle, a 13-year-old girl and her mother and an 11-year-old boy and his mother.
It was the first time a child has undergone transplant surgery in Trinidad.
Consultant transplant surgeon Andrew Ready, the clinical lead, said: "We have proved that we can perform very complex surgery in a country that does not normally have the means to do it."
The transplant team was working for TLC (Transplant Links), a UK charity.
Mr Ready, who is medical director of TLC, added: "Here in the UK, when patients are diagnosed with kidney failure, they're put onto dialysis and have the opportunity for a transplant, which is something we tend to take for granted.
"That simply doesn't happen in the developing world where people are dying instead of getting treatment.
"The children had dialysis available to them which was keeping them alive. But for a child, being on dialysis is not ideal. There are problems with bone growth, diet, lack of energy and their life expectancy would be restricted as well.
"It's great to have finally taken a team to make such a difference elsewhere.
"Transplant surgery is not generally available to children in Trinidad. We have a lot of experience operating on children so we wanted to give them the opportunities that a transplant gives children to transform their lives.
"This was the first time this has been done by a team from the UK. It was the first time there has been a child transplant in Trinidad and the first time keyhole surgery has been used in a transplant in the Caribbean area."
He added: "One of the reasons for our success was we planned everything well in advance, we had plenty of discussions with clinical colleagues in Trinidad. The operating theatres we were using in Trinidad were very good and their staff were also excellent. We had to take some of our own keyhole surgery kit with us and we were very happy with how smoothly it went.
"Nothing happened during the operation to make us anxious. In fact, during the procedures there were times when we had to remind ourselves that we were in the Caribbean rather than Birmingham.
The team also included another surgeon, an anaesthetist, two renal physicians, three theatre technicians and two paediatric nurses. Theatre technician Adrian Shaw said: "It was the experience of a lifetime. We just went out there and did what we always do.
"It wasn't too difficult. The local teams had a lot of good skills and just needed a little support in getting the job done. They were fantastic. I don't think we realised what we had done until we were at the airport and one of the grandmothers said thank you for saving the children. It was very emotional. Then we realised the enormity of what we had done."
Dr Jennie Jewitt-Harris, founder and Chairman of TLC, said: "To be able to give this gift to these families in Trinidad has been a wonderful experience for everyone involved.
"The transplant team from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital gave up their spare time to come to Trinidad and do this work. They performed the operations and provided after-care and teaching so we can now work towards more children benefiting from transplants in the future. Their contribution has been truly amazing."
TLC is now planning to expand its work and take UK medical teams to other countries.