First Britain To Have A Hand Transplant

First Britain To Have A Hand Transplant

  • Posted: Jan 04, 2013
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The first person in the UK to have a hand transplant was a former pub landlord,  who is 51 years old, from West Yorkshire.

Doctors say he is making good progress after an eight-hour operation at Leeds General Infirmary. Doctors approved that is too early to asses how much control of the hand  he got after operation but as far he can wiggle his fingers but no sense of touch

Mark Cahill, from Greetland near Halifax, said: “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.”

Mr Cahill’s new hand is still bandaged up, but he can already move his fingers.

He developed gout in his toes and feet 20 years ago. Five years ago it spread to his right hand leaving him unable to open his fingers or use his hand for anything.

One option would have been a bionic hand, but he volunteered for the pioneering surgery.

He was the first person in the Uk that had been amputated during an operation to attach a doner hand. The operation took place on 27 December when a donor hand became available right after Boxing Day.

The fresh cut, made where you would wear a watch, allowed surgeons to connect nerves in Mr Cahill’s arm with those in the donor hand with great precision – along with the bone, blood vessels and tendons.

Prof Simon Kay, a consultant plastic surgeon at the hospital, said: “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.”It is still early days but indications are good and the patient is making good progress.”

Leeds General Infirmary already has experience for reattaching hands which have been accidentally cut off.

Mark Cahill’s operation has been planned for more than two years and the hospital was in touch with plastic surgeons across the country looking for people who might be suitable. Once found, potential patients had to be assessed to ensure they were suitable for the procedure.

Clint Hallam received the world’s first hand transplant. He had lost a hand in an accident with a circular saw more than a decade earlier.

Surgeons do try to find hand transplants which are a close physical match to a patient, however, they are very visible, unlike a transplanted internal organ such as a kidney.

Ensuring a patient is prepared for the mental challenge of living with a hand which is not their own is considered as important as the surgical element of the transplant.More than 60 hand transplants have been carried out around the world.

Prof Norman Williams, the president of the Royal College of Surgeons, said: “This is yet another example of life-changing surgical advancements that are now possible.”

“As with all procedures that improve the quality of life rather than save it, there is an ethical balance to be struck – especially as the lifelong anti-rejection medication that the patient would need to take carries its own risks.

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