Monday, 16 January 2012

Double Hand Transplant Surgery

When the programme ‘Inside The Human Body’ was on last year around the summer time, I thoroughly enjoyed watching it. I followed the whole series of the programme as it showed some very interesting topics, such as a double hand transplant, which is an amazing innovation to Medicine. The first operation was performed on March 2011.

The hand

The hand is an essential part of the body it is made up ok skin, muscle, bone, tendons, nerves and vessels. The hand has precisely 27 bones, 28 muscles, 3 main nerves, 2 main arteries, tendons, veins and soft tissue. The skeleton of the hand consists of bones divided into three groups: the carpus, the metacarpal bones, and the phalanges. T It includes three main nerves - median, ulnar, and radial. All three nerves are involved in control of the wrist, finger and thumb. They supply the hand with blood.


Donor selection is similar to selection in organ donations: a patient should be between the age of 18 and 65 and other primary criteria. They need to have an amputated part of their arm below the elbow. And they must be aware of the risks involved. The goal: is to restore functional recovery to the patient with a transplanted hand. The patient will undergo clinical evaluations which will include a history and physical, x-ray evaluation, psychosocial evaluation, nerve conduction studies, tissue studies and laboratory studies.

The Surgery

Hand transplantation is an extremely complex procedure. The surgery will undergo in this order: bone fixation, tendon repair, artery repair, nerve repair, and then vein repair. The surgery can take from 12-16 hours long!

The surgeon must attach them to the blood supply before they deteriorate. The patient must have the same blood type and bone structure to help the operation be successful. They prepare the patients damaged hands for amputation first.  A dissection is carried out to detect the radius and ulnar bone. They connect the radius bone together by a metal t plate, then a second plate for the ulnar bones. Then they begin attaching the tendons, they pull the tendons to flex the fingers they do this on both sides. After the tendons and bones are attached the begin to work on the nerves using a powerful microscope. Each end of the nerves are attached with individual stitches, they do a similar procedure for the arteries and veins. The surgeons then wait for the hand to turn pink, indicating the flow and return of circulation, the skin is then closed.

The recovery for the patient will take a good deal of time until they can fully use their hands. But the surgical procedure is well worth the risk and patients as they can now carry out normal everyday tasks like they used to. It allows them have a normal life. This kind of surgery completely changes a patient way of life also their families too. This reminds me and probably most of the people, who are interested in Medicine or even science; why we study it, and why we want to be a part of it; because we want to witness and experience some of the most revolutionary developments of 21st Century Medicine and Science!       
  A Link to the surgery being carried out!

The animation of the surgery and what it involves

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