Hand transplantation

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Bilateral arm transplant patient Brendan Marrocco doing a pull-up.

Hand transplantation is a surgical procedure to transplant a hand from one human to another.

The operation is carried out in the following order: bone fixation, tendon repair, artery repair, nerve repair, then vein repair. The operation typically lasts 8 to 12 hours. By comparison, a typical heart transplant operation lasts 6 to 8 hours.

The recipient of a hand transplant needs to take immunosuppressive drugs, as the body's natural immune system will try to reject, or destroy, the hand. These drugs cause the recipient to have a weaker immune system and mean that they may suffer severely even from minor infections.

History[edit]

A hand transplant was performed in Ecuador in 1964, but the patient suffered from transplant rejection after only two weeks.

The first short-term success in human hand transplant occurred with New Zealander Clint Hallam who had lost his hand in an accident while in prison. The operation was performed on September 23, 1998 in Lyon, France by a team assembled from different countries around the world including Prof Nadey Hakim who represented the UK, and Professor Jean-Michel Dubernard from France. A microsurgeon on the team, Earl Owen from Australia, was privy to the detailed basic research, much of it unpublished, that had been carefully gathered by the team in Louisville. After the operation, Hallam wasn't comfortable with the idea of his transplanted hand and failed to follow the prescribed post-operative drug and physiotherapy. His inaccurate expectations became a vivid example of the necessity of a fully committed team of caregivers, including psychologists, that can correctly select and prepare the potential transplant recipients for the lengthy and difficult recovery and for the modest functional restoration of a transplanted hand to be expected. Hallam's transplanted hand was removed at his request by the transplant surgeon Nadey Hakim on February 2, 2001 following another episode of rejection.

The first hand transplant to achieve prolonged success was directed by a team of Kleinert Kutz Hand Care surgeons including Warren C. Breidenbach and Tsu-Min Tsai in cooperation with the Christine M. Kleinert Institute, Jewish Hospital and the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky. The procedure was performed on New Jersey native Matthew Scott on January 14, 1999. Scott had lost his hand in a fireworks accident at age 24. Later in 1999, the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team asked him to do the honors of throwing out the ceremonial first pitch. The Louisville group went on to perform the first five hand transplants in the United States and have performed nine hand transplants in eight recipients as of 2008.

In contrast to the earlier attempts at hand transplantation, the Louisville group had performed extensive basic science research and feasibility studies for many years prior to their first clinical procedure (for example, Shirbacheh et al., 1998).[1] There was also considerable transparency and institutional review board oversight involved in the screening and selection of prospective patients.

In March 2000, a team of surgeons at the University of Innsbruck in Austria began a series of three bilateral hand transplants over six years. The first was an Austrian police officer who had lost both hands attempting to defuse a bomb. He has completed an around-the-world solo motorcycle trip using his transplanted hands.

University of Louisville doctors also performed a successful hand transplant on Michigan native Jerry Fisher in February 2001, and Michigan resident David Savage in 2006.[2]

On January 14, 2004, the team of Professor Jean-Michel Dubernard (Edouard-Herriot Hospital, France) declared a five-year-old double hand transplant a success. The lessons learned in this case, and in the 26 other hand transplants (6 double) which occurred between 2000 and 2005, gave encouragement to other transplant operations of such organs as the face, abdominal wall and larynx.

On May 4, 2009 Jeff Kepner, a 57-year-old Augusta, Georgia, resident, underwent the first double hand transplant in the United States at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center by a team led by W.P. Andrew Lee, who also had been performing careful basic research on such transplants for many years. A CNN story on his follow up demonstrated the limited functional restoration to be expected, particularly following bilateral transplantation.[3]

On February 18, 2010 the first female in the United States underwent hand transplantation at Wilford Hall Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. The procedure was performed by surgeons from The Hand Center of San Antonio and US Air Force.[4]

On June 22, 2010, a Polish soldier received two new hands from a female donor, after losing them three years earlier while saving a young recruit from a bomb.

On March 8, 2011, 26-year-old Emily Fennell underwent an 18 hour surgery to attach a right hand. This was performed in the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.[5][6]

March 12, 2011 Linda Lu became the recipient of the first hand transplant in the Southeast, performed at Emory University Hospital,[7] from a donor Leslie Sullivent.[8]

In the fall of 2011, 28-year-old Lindsay Ess received a double hand transplant at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in an 11 1/2 hour surgery.[9]

On December 27, 2012, 51-year-old Mark Cahill received a right hand transplant at Leeds General Infirmary in the UK. The recipient's hand was removed during the same 8 hour operation, reportedly allowing very accurate restoration of nerve structures, believed to be an international first.[10]

On February 27, 2013, 38-year-old Eskandar Moghaddami received first hand transplant surgery by the 15 Khordad Hospital plastic surgery team in Tehran, Iran.

Although the one-year survival rate of transplanted hands has been excellent at institutions that are fully committed to the procedure, the number of hand transplants performed after 2008 has been small due to drug-related side effects, uncertain long-term outcome, and the high costs of surgery, rehabilitation and immunosuppression.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Shirbacheh, M. V.; et al. (1998). "The case for local immunosuppression in composite tissue allotransplantation". Transplantation Proceedings 30 (6): 2739–2742. doi:10.1016/S0041-1345(98)00800-8. 
  2. ^ Knox, Richard (11 October 2008). "After Hand Transplant, Patient's Brain Adapts". NPR. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  3. ^ Park, Madison (30 August 2010). "One year after double hand transplant, progress elusive". CNN. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  4. ^ "First U.S. Amputee Woman Gets Successful Hand Transplant". Fox News. 4 March 2010. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  5. ^ Moster, Roxanne (7 March 2011). "UCLA performs first hand transplant in the western United States". UCLA Newsroom. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  6. ^ Caulfield, Philip (20 April 2011). "MIRACLE: Emily Fennell debuts new hand after transplant; young mom is West Coast's first recipient". New York Daily News. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  7. ^ "Emory performs rare hand transplant". Emory News Center. 30 March 2011. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  8. ^ Lynch-Jones, Lorra (22 July 2011). "Leslie Sullivent Donated Her Hand for Transplant". 13WMAZ. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  9. ^ http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/health/2011/nov/01/tdmain01-after-years-without-limbs-lindsay-ess-beg-ar-1425112/[dead link]
  10. ^ "Hand transplant is a national first for Leeds" (Press release). Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. 2013-01-03. Retrieved 2013-12-30. 
  11. ^ Schneeberger, Stefan; et al. (2008). "Hand Transplantation: The Innsbruck Experience". Transplantation of Composite Tissue Allografts. pp. 234–250. doi:10.1007/978-0-387-74682-1_17. ISBN 978-0-387-74681-4. 

Further reading[edit]

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