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The World's first Transplant of both Arms

The World's first Transplant of both Arms

Picture of a body with transplanted arms 

From the 25th to the 26th July the first transplant of complete arms was performed after several years of preparatory work. The patient is doing well under the circumstances.

This operation was managed by the Clinic for Plastic Surgery and Hand Surgery and a team of 40 people participated. And it took 15 hours.

Six years ago, the 54 year old farmer lost both his arms at upper arm level during an accident. Thus the man had to heavily rely on help - a condition which he wanted to change as quickly as possible. After two attempts with various artificial limbs had proven unsuccessful, his desire for arms consisting of live tissue became ever bigger. He therefore approached the Clinic for Plastic Surgery and Surgery at the “Klinikum rechts der Isar” for help.

The physicians of the Clinic for Plastic Surgery had to initially clarify whether the future patient was physically and psychologically suitable for the difficult surgical procedure. The man was examined from head to foot, for in order to be prepared for the suppression of the immune defence system required after transplantation, he had to be perfectly healthy. One also had to ensure that he had a stable personality and a stable social environment.

The last phase of operative preparation was represented by an explorative operation on the upper arm stump, during which the physicians tested to see where and how they would be able to seal off nerves and vessels during transplant. During this procedure they ascertained that the main artery in the left shoulder was occluded; this would thus require several bypasses.

Now it was solely a matter of waiting for a suitable donor, matching the host in sex, age, skin colour, size and blood group and would have no injuries to the upper extremities.

Not only the operation itself but also the first days thereafter continued optimally for the patient. His condition is very good under the circumstances. Now it is a matter of avoiding future wound healing disorders, infections, strong side effects caused by the drugs and, in particular, any rejective reaction. Quite a number of measures were taken to this effect: close monitoring, antibiotic prophylaxis, drug monitoring and immuno-monitoring. To avoid degeneration of the muscles, these are regularly stimulated with physiotherapy, among others. The patient is also given psychological support.

REHACARE.de; Source: “Klinikum rechts der Isar” of the Technical University of Munich

- More about the “Klinikum rechts der Isar” of the Technical University of Munich at: www.med.tu-muenchen.de

 
 

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