UK patients will be able to receive hands transplants, thanks to a procedure provided by Leeds Teaching Hospital.
The new hands will be warm to the touch and will move with much more dexterity than prosthetics. The potential patients will be analyzed starting this April, but not anyone who has lost a member would be eligible. They will also have to go through tests to see the physical and mental capabilities. A surgery is estimated to cost around 70,000 dollars and requires the participation of four teams of surgeons to work simultaneously. Currently, only 80 people passed through it, according to IFL Science.
The teams will be led by Simon Kay, the surgeon who performed the first successful hand transplant in 2012, on a man named Mark Cahil after his right hand was affected by gout. Cahil told that the transplant transformed his life, allowing him to tie his shoes and to drive, just as he did before.
As I said before, patients need to be psychologically eligible. The donated member must meet certain criteria as follows: it needs to have the same blood type, size, and a similar skin tone. The surgery takes between six and twelve hours, depending on the complexity.
First, the bones are stuck with titanium plates, then the muscles and tendons. The major blood vessels will be connected through microsurgery, and after ensuring the circulation and placing the nerves, muscles, and tendons, the skin is sewn. The senses come back almost immediately, but the mobility and the sensations reach to their full potential after 18 months. The patients need to take drugs that enhance immunity for the rest of their life, so the member will not be rejected by the body.