Double Hand Transplants


Gone But Not Forgotten
Aug 31, 2001
407, ... 55,00.html

I just find this amazing.

Five years on, rocket victim finally comes to terms with his new arms
From Adam Sage in Paris

A FRENCH house painter who became the first person to receive a double arm transplant has spoken for the first time about his five-year struggle to accept his new hands.

“It’s been very long, but it’s really worthwhile,’ said Denis Chatelier, 38, who lost his forearms in 1996 when a model rocket exploded as he was trying to launch it.

“The most moving thing was when my 18-month-old son said ‘hand’ and then kissed it. I felt his kiss. It was magnificent.

“I am very happy to have thrown myself into this adventure. It’s a success and I’m very satisfied. I can undertake all the gestures of daily life, except carrying very heavy weights. The hairs on my hands are growing again. I can feel hot and cold and pressure.”

M Chatelier said that he could shave, cut his fingernails and carry his four young children. He has taken up fishing and can drive his car again.

M Chatelier’s progress has exceeded medical expectations and prompted Jean-Michel Dubernard, the surgeon who oversaw the operation, to envisage face transplants. “We are technically ready to do that, but it would raise ethical questions,” he said.

Professor Dubernard led a team of 18 surgeons, including Nadey Hakim, of St Mary’s Hospital, West London, in the 17-hour operation at Edouard Herriot hospital, Lyons, France, to graft arms on to M Chatelier in January 2000.

At the time, the professor said that although he and his team had managed to attach the limbs below the elbow and to join arteries, veins, tendons, muscles, nerves and bones, the hardest test lay ahead. He said that success depended upon M Chatelier’s physical and psychological adaptation to the forearms, which were removed from the body of a 19-year-old man who had died after falling from a bridge.

“One of the most difficult questions was to know how the recipient could live with someone else’s hands,” Professor Dubernard said.

The psychiatrists who followed M Chatelier said that he referred to les mains (the hands) after the operation. But when he was able to feel with his fingertips, he spoke about mes mains (my hands). The experts said the appropriation was complete when he began making typical Gallic gestures to accompany his words.

“Everything became easier when he started speaking with his hands,” Danièle Bachman, a psychiatrist, said.

Although M Chatelier was given medication to suppress his immune system, doctors were unsure whether his body would reject the skin graft. But Professor Dubernard said that there had only been two signs of rejection, on the 51st and 83rd days after the operation. Both had been treated with corti sone.

Using MRI scanners, neuroscientists have also found that M Chatelier’s brain has recovered the ability to co-ordinate and anticipate hand movements. Professor Dubernard said that he had been surprised by the flexibility of the motor cortex, which controls such movements. A total of 26 people have had hand transplants since 2000, six of them double hand transplants. Doctors say that M Chatelier’s recovery is particularly important because he has stood the test of time.

M Chatelier said that every year he lay a rose at the shrine in Lourdes in the French Pyrenees, and said a prayer for the family of the donor whose arms he received.
And he's not even a con-man on the run from the police. A modern medical miracle.
Double hand transplant 'success'

A woman who became the first in the world to receive a double hand transplant has left hospital.
A team of surgeons at Hospital La Fe in Valencia carried out the pioneering operation.

Alba Lucia, 47, originally from Columbia, who had the 10-hour operation on November 30, said she was "very happy and enormously satisfied".

Both her original hands were amputated after an explosion in her student chemistry lab nearly 30 years ago.

more here

(C) BBC '06
So... the bloke felt that the hands were not his own? :shock:

There're men who'd give their right, erm...

I knew I shouldn't have started this.
Going back a few years, I sold a room or two of books to a local bookseller. He arrived with big white van, large, adorable doggie and er no hands! I noticed the lack of any real hand as I was about to shake hands on the deal. I was far too diplomatic to quiz him but I imagined some horrid guillotine-like machine with no guard on it. :eek:
JamesWhitehead said:
Going back a few years, I sold a room or two of books to a local bookseller. He arrived with big white van, large, adorable doggie and er no hands! I noticed the lack of any real hand as I was about to shake hands on the deal. I was far too diplomatic to quiz him but I imagined some horrid guillotine-like machine with no guard on it. :eek:
Meningitis or septicaemia are also popular ways to lose both hands of course. Just a cut on the finger could do it.
I also liked beakboo's reference to "popular" ways to lose both hands!

Voting by a show of hands for Meningitis or Septicaemia sounds quite appropriate. Last time I made a similar decision was in the privacy of a polling booth! :)
The rejection problem doesn't sound like much fun. If there is someone here with immune system/cellular replacement medical background here is something I've wondered. The body eventually replaces all old cells with new ones all the time. So over a long period of time wouldn't the "foreign arm" be slowly replaced cell by cell by cells from the recipient's body or does it keep reproducing it's own cells? In theory at least it almost seems that over time the new arm would be assimilated by the person's body though I'm sure that I'm grossly oversimplifying this and leaving out alot of biological facts.
Here's an interesting report of long-term adaptive effects from receiving a new pair of forearms / hands. This young Indian woman received a pair of forearms from a man. Over time, the skin tone of her new forearms came to match her own skin color. Furthermore, she and her physiotherapist claim the new hands have become more "feminine" (thinner; less robust).
Woman's transplanted 'man hands' became lighter and more feminine over time

A young woman in India who lost both of her hands in a bus accident received limbs from a darker-skinned male donor. Years later, the skin of her transplanted hands has lightened.

After her accident in 2016, 18-year-old Shreya Siddanagowder's arms were amputated below the elbow. In 2017, she underwent a 13-hour transplant operation performed by a team of 20 surgeons and 16 anesthesiologists, The Indian Express reported on March 7.

Her transplanted hands came from a 21-year-old man who died after a bicycle crash. Over the next year and a half, physical therapy improved Siddanagowder's motor control of her arms and hands, which gradually became leaner than they were at the time of the transplant. But there was another unexpected change: The skin on her new limbs, which had been darker because the donor had a darker complexion, became lighter in color, so that it more closely matched Siddanagowder's skin tone ...

The doctors who treated Siddanagowder suspect that her body produces less melanin than her donor's did, which could explain the lightening of her new limbs (melanin is a pigment that lends skin its color). But more research is required to confirm the cause ...

Her surgery was the first double hand transplant performed in Asia, as well as the continent's first intergender limb transplant ...

However, her hands "have feminine features now," Siddanagowder added. ...

One explanation for her hands taking on a more "feminine" shape could be the muscles adapting to their new host, physiotherapist Ketaki Doke, who worked with Siddanagowder in her home city of Pune, told The Indian Express.

"The nerve begins to send signals — it is called reinnervation — and the muscles function according to body needs," Doke said. "The muscles in her hand may have started adapting to a female body." ...

ahem . . .

After waiting 28 years since he was injured, this Icelandic man has been equipped with two new hands ... and arms ... and a shoulder.
Icelandic man receives world's first double-arm-and-shoulder transplant

An Icelandic man who got the world’s first double-shoulder-and-arm transplant is recovering well after the operation, two decades after the accident that cost him both limbs, doctors have said.

They said it was still uncertain how much mobility Felix Gretarsson, 48, will recover following the operation earlier this month in the southeastern French city of Lyon. ...

On 12 January, 1998, Gretarsson, an electrician, was working on a high-voltage power line when an 11,000-volt surge burned his hands and flung him to the icy ground.

He sustained multiple fractures and internal injuries, and went into a three-month coma during which surgeons amputated both arms.

He underwent several more operations, including a liver transplant.

When hand transplant pioneer Jean-Michel Dubernard, based in Lyon, visited Reykjavik for a conference, Gretarsson asked him whether it would be possible to replace the lost limbs. ...

It took years to find suitable donors, during which some 50 medical staff in total became involved in the preparations for the operation. ...

Four surgical teams were involved to minimise the transition time between donor and recipient.

Doctors said the outlook for the right arm to become functional was better than for the left, which had also required a complete rebuild of the shoulder. No serious complications had been detected nine days after the operation, they said. ...