In a Canadian first, a multi-disciplinary team, led by Dr. Steven McCabe, has successfully completed the country's first transplant of the upper limb.
During a procedure lasting approximately 14 hours, a team of 18 surgeons attached the forearm and hand matched from a donor to a patient who had been evaluated as a suitable candidate. This required the cooperation of a variety of different surgical disciplines from a number of hospitals and the University of Toronto.
The 49-year-old female patient, who lost her arm below the elbow in an accident several years ago, is doing well and recovering from the procedure. The patient's rehabilitation will begin right away with a custom made splint and motion of the joints to avoid stiffness.
To protect the privacy and confidentiality of the patient, the donor and their families, the hospital will not be releasing the date of the surgery or any possible identifying details.
A wide range of experts are required to successfully complete the pre-transplant, transplant and post-transplant phases. This procedure was made possible by the knowledge of immune suppression and the prevention of rejection in UHN's Multi-Organ Transplant Program, Toronto Western Hospital's Hand and Upper Extremity Transplant Program, and the Trillium Gift of Life Network (TGLN) that oversees the organ donation process.
"We are very proud to have successfully performed this hand transplant procedure," said Dr. McCabe, Director of TWH's Hand and Upper Extremity Transplant Program. "This is a tremendous accomplishment, and we are excited to be able to provide this procedure to patients who would benefit from it."
Dr. McCabe was part of the surgical team in Louisville, Kentucky that performed the world's first successful hand transplant in 1999. To date, over 110 hand transplants have taken place worldwide in more than 12 countries.
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