A team of doctors in Leeds performed the first hand transplant surgery in Britain on a 51-year old man but the surgery was criticized by one of the country's leading surgeons.
Doctors at Leeds General Infirmary performed the eight-hour operation on Mark Cahill after a donor was found on Boxing Day. Cahill, who comes from Halifax in West Yorkshire, said that he was very pleased with the surgery and is now looking forward to perform everyday tasks including tying his own shoe laces and holding his grandson's hand. Cahill had lost his hand in a circular saw accident when he was in prison in 1984.
However the surgery has been criticized by one of Britain's leading surgeons, Lord Robert Winston, who was one of the pioneers of hand transplant surgeries back in 1970s. Lord Winston said that even if the doctors were able to join each and every nerve carefully, there will be very limited mobility in the hand.
"What is clear is that since that time there have a number of hand transplants (I followed one in my TV series Superhuman in 1999 - 2000) which showed that, even when nerves and vessels and tendons were all carefully joined up under a microscope, these transplanted hands were very limited and most often caused huge inconvenience to the recipient because of lack of function - essentially a largely 'dead hand' at the end of an arm", he said.