The first hand transplant surgery
carried out in the Western US at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center has been successful. This surgery was carried out on
26-year old Emily Fennel who had lost her right hand in an automobile accident
about 5-years ago. Initially Emily had a prosthetic hand, but opted for a hand
transplant to take better care of her daughter.
The operation was complex and went on for 14 1/2 hours. Operating
team consisted of 20 surgeons who had to attach 23 tendons, 2 bones, 2 arteries
and at least 3 nerves. The surgeons grafted the donor hand from a deceased
donor which was identical. The blood group, color and size match was perfect.
Soon after the surgery Emily was able to move her fingers. Rehabilitation
will continue for several months. She will
also have to take medicines all her life to prevent the rejection of the new
hand. The transplant cost the hospital about $80,000.