Ky. Doctors Perform Double Hand Transplant

LOUISVILLE, Ky., Aug. 26 (UPI) — Doctors in Kentucky replaced a man’s burned hands with two new ones in the region’s first double-hand transplant, officials said.

The experimental surgery at Louisville’s Jewish Hospital Hand Care Center, only the third double-hand transplant in the United States after two in Pittsburgh, took about 17 hours, The (Louisville) Courier-Journal reported Wednesday.

Lead surgeon Dr. Warren Breidenbach said the patient could recover 80 percent to 90 percent of function in his hands, resume all his activities and end up with “a reasonably good grip strength.”

“The real issue is the next 24-48 hours, which is critical,” Breidenbach said.

Post-operative complications can include infections, rejection and blockage of the blood supply, he said.

The hospital did not release details on the patient or how he was burned, except to say he was a married man and was not injured in the military.

The U.S. Department of Defense, Office of Naval Research and the Office of Army Research sponsored the transplant, and Breidenbach said similar surgeries could someday replace soldiers’ injured hands.

“This technology coincides with a shift in the type of military injuries — face and extremity injuries,” Breidenbach said.

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