Double Arm Transplant in Germany Considered Success

15 hours and 40 doctors later, a farmer has two new arms. The surgery replaced both limbs of a farmer who lost his arms in an accident in 2002. He lost both arms below the shoulder. From the Guardian article:

Christoph Höhnke, a surgeon on the transplant team, said that the complicated procedure was completed without any unforeseen problems. It involved a team of 40 doctors, nurses and assistants working together, attaching one arm and then the other. “The whole thing went according to script,” he said.

With a surgery as complicated as this, though, many things can go wrong. The patient can reject the transplants, although close matching of blood and other immunological factors can minimize this, along with drugs that can dampen the immune system’s reaction to foreign bodies. The bones may not completely graft together. It’s like recovering from two severely broken arms on top of everything else.

Nerve regeneration has come a long way, however. The man who received a single arm transplant in 2006 was able to write with the transplanted hand within a year.

“nerve regeneration” at Yale Image Finder.

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