First Hand Transplant In The UK CompletedEditor's Choice
Main Category: Transplants / Organ Donations
Article Date: 04 Jan 2013 - 11:00 PST
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First Hand Transplant In The UK Completed
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Following a complicated eight hour operation using a donor limb and matching tissue, the first successful hand transplant was completed in the UK on December 27, 2012.
The recipient was a 51-year-old man named Mark Cahill, a pub landlord from Halifax. His right hand became unusable after it was infected with gout.
A surgical group at Leeds General Infirmary was led by Professor Simon Kay. The team removed Cahill's hand at the same time as they replaced it with the donor hand. This is the first time this method has been used, permitting precise restoration of nerve structures.
Cahill developed gout in his toes and feet about 20 years ago and just five years ago it reached his right hand, rendering his hand useless and also made him lose the/ ability to open his fingers. He decided to volunteer for this novel surgery instead of choosing a bionic hand.
The operation technique involved making a fresh cut at the wrist where you wear a watch. It permitted surgeons to attach nerves in Cahill's arm with those in the donor hand with exact accuracy, including tendons, blood vessels, and bone.
Professor Simon Kay, Consultant Plastic Surgeon said:
This operation is the culmination of a great deal of planning and preparation over the last two years by a team including plastic surgery, transplant medicine and surgery, immunology, psychology, rehabilitation medicine, pharmacy and many other disciplines.
The team was on standby from the end of November awaiting a suitable donor limb, and the call came just after Christmas. It was extremely challenging to be the first team in the UK to carry out such a procedure. Any organ donation brings something positive from tragedy and I would like to acknowledge the tremendous gift the family of the donor have made at such a distressing time."
Leeds Teaching Hospitals started the search process in 2011 for patients that could potentially be a candidate for the hand transplant. They put in place many protocols and examined possible patients from all over the UK.
Investigators analyzed each individual's health and the possible advantages to their quality of life. They also looked at the psychological states of potential patients and the implications of the transplant.
The surgical team partnered with NHS Blood and Transplant in the lead up to the procedure.
Hand transplantation first came about in the USA and France in 1998 and 1999, the surgical team from Leeds worked with some of these experienced doctors.
At this point it is still early to know how much control of the hand that Cahill will gain, but as of now he is able to move his fingers, although without any sense of touch.
Mark Cahill commented:
"When I look at it and move it, it just feels like my hand. Right now it feels really good, it's not a lot of pain, it looks good, it looks a great match and I'm looking forward to getting it working now."
Written by Kelly Fitzgerald
Copyright: Medical News Today
Not to be reproduced without permission of Medical News Today
19 May. 2013. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/254610.php>
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