In a first for Canada, surgeons at the University of Toronto have successfully performed a hand transplant surgery.
As many as 18 surgeons took 14 hours to attach a forearm and hand to a 49-year-old woman who had lost her arm below the elbow in an accident a few years ago. The organs are donated by people by signing their organ donor card, or by visiting the Be A Donor website. The identity of the donor and the 49-year-old woman are being kept secret.
A multidisciplinary team that included anesthesiologists, psychiatrists, pharmacists, nurses and health care professionals performed the operation and the recipient woman is “doing well and recovering from the procedure.’’
After surgery, the patient will undergo an intensive program of physical and occupational therapy for at least a year and live near the hospital so they can get there quickly in case their body starts to reject the transplant, a Toronto University statement said.
Prof Steven McCabe, who is the director of the University of Toronto’s Hand Program as well as director of the Hand and Upper Extremity Transplant Program at Toronto Western Hospital, led the operation. “We are very proud to have successfully performed this forearm and hand transplant procedure.This is a tremendous accomplishment, and we are excited to be able to provide this procedure to patients who would benefit from it,” said Prof McCabe who also was part of a team that performed the world’s first successful hand transplant in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1999.
Over 110 hand transplants have been performed so far worldwide in over a dozen countries.