Hand Transplant Performed for the First Time in Britain

Mark Cahill's right hand was replaced with one taken from another person

By on January 4th, 2013 20:31 GMT

Britain has recently witnessed its first ever hand transplant. The surgery was performed on a 51-year-old man whose right hand was no longer of any use to him, and had to be replaced with another.

The reasons for why Mark Cahill was in dire need of a new right hand are as follows: at one point in the past, he fell sick with gout and developed an infection. This in turn caused him to lose the ability to move his fingers.

In other words, his right hand became paralyzed, and carrying out the simplest of chores started looking more like a Herculean task.

Thanks to the hand transplant he received about eight days ago, Mark Cahill can now make his fingers move.

What distinguishes this surgery from others of its kind is the fact that, whereas other hand transplants resume to attaching the new limb, this one also involved removing the original hand. Because of this, the procedure lasted a total of eight hours, Daily Mail explains.

Commenting on this procedure, Mark Cahill stated that, “This has changed my life. It feels great to look at this hand and see it move.”

“Before the operation, I couldn’t tie my own shoes, do up the buttons on my shirt, cut up my own dinner or play with my grandson’s toys with him – hopefully I’ll be able to do all these things now,” he went on to add.

For the time being, this 51-year-old grandfather is to see a psychologist on a fairly regular basis, so as to make sure his psyche can cope with the idea of his body having a foreign hand attached to it.

As well as this, he will have to take immunosuppressive drugs for the rest of his life. Failure to do so is bound to lead to the transplanted organ's being rejected by his body.

The surgery was carried out at Leeds General Infirmary by a team of specialists led by consultant plastic surgeon Simon Kay.

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