In what’s being claimed a world first, surgeons in Poland have successfully attached a hand from a deceased donor to a patient who has lived his entire life without them.
“It is the first graft in the world of an upper limb onto an adult with this congenital defect,” said Adam Domanasiewicz, who led the surgical team at Wroclaw Medical University Hospital.
“We are talking about a man who lived 32 years without this member.”
Until the man’s miracle transplant, the only similar procedure was done to newborn, conjoined twins in Indonesia and Canada, Domanasiewicz says. Hands have been grafted onto patients whose own limbs were amputated, too.
After the 13-hour operation, the patient – known as Piotr – was elated and is already envisioning his ideal future.
“I’d like to be able to hug my family using both hands. Until now I’d been using my stump,” he said in an interview with news channel TVN 24.
Piotr can only move his fingers as of now, but doctors believe he’ll slowly gain mobility in time.
“This is an important breakthrough in neurophysiology and the practice of transplants because up to now it was thought that — in the case of this type of congenital defect — such grafts could not be done,” Domanasiewicz explained.
He also added now that an operation of this magnitude was a success, it opens new avenues for lots of people around the world born without members, who relied solely on prostheses to date.