Meet Dr. Juan Arenas

Transplant surgeon Juan Arenas, M.D., receives a call on the same day every year from one particular patient. The call celebrates the patient’s “birthday” – not the day he was born, but the day Dr. Arenas gave him new life through a kidney transplant.

We are passionate about taking care of patients.”

It’s those kinds of moments with patients that made Dr. Arenas – a kidney, liver, and pancreas transplantation specialist – want to be a transplant surgeon.

“People always, always, always remember where you made a difference in their lives,” says Dr. Arenas, who has been named a “Best Doctor in Dallas” by D Magazine. “That’s the kind of story that makes me love what I do each day.” 

A board-certified general surgeon, Dr. Arenas focuses his efforts on robotic surgery, which minimizes recovery time. He offers robotic surgery for kidney transplant recipients and he performs liver resections (removal of a portion of the liver) by robotic surgery or laparoscopy. In the future he expects to offer robotic-assisted kidney transplants. 

As Chief of the Division of Surgical Transplantation at UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dr. Arenas built UT Southwestern’s multi-organ transplant program from the ground up beginning in 2007. 

He credits the success they’ve had on recruiting the right people and forming the right team. 

“We are a very experienced team of physicians that works in unison, under the same roof, with the same objective,” he says. 

The transplant program at UT Southwestern takes a multidisciplinary approach to providing the best care, with surgeons, hepatologists, and nephrologists teaming up with nurses, physician extenders, and support staff throughout the Medical Center.

Dr. Arenas also leads research that rethinks organ preservation and perfusion. He developed a way to reduce injury to organs in donors after cardiac death, an advance he hopes to bring to patients at UT Southwestern in the near future.

Clinical Interests


  • Kidney transplant
  • Liver transplant
  • Pancreas transplant
  • Living donor liver transplantation
  • Donation after cardiac death
  • Extracorporeal circulatory support

Organ preservation

Organ perfusion


  • Robotic surgery
  • Laparoscopic surgery