In a new BBC1 series, 'Inside The Human Body', Dr Richard Edwards, 54, a chiropractor from Oklahoma, who had both his own hands cut off and then replaced by someone else's, was filmed undergoing the surgery.
Edwards' hands had been badly damaged in a fire. He survived, but 30 percent of his body was severely burnt. Most of his injuries healed but his hands were too badly damaged to recover.
"I couldn't do anything that required a delicate touch. I couldn't do up buttons, fasten or unfasten a zip," the Daily Mail quoted him as saying.
He was so frustrated that he volunteered for a double hand transplant, and the operation was co-ordinated by Dr Warren Breidenbach at the Jewish Hospital Hand Care Centre in Louisville, Kentucky.
It took two teams of surgeons more than 18 hours of painstaking surgery to first amputate Edwards' damaged hands and then connect the donor's hands.
Now, nine months later, Edwards has good control of what were once a stranger's hands.